Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “whether”


conjunction     /ˈweð.ər/ US  //
B1 (used especially in reporting questions and expressing doubts ) if, or not: I wasn't sure whether you'd like it. She asked me whether I was interested in working for her. I'm wondering whether to have the fish or the beef . I doubt whether it'll work . I was merely questioning whether we have the money to fund such a project . It all depends on whether or not she's got the time . Anyway , it's a good story , whether or not it's true .Connecting words which express a condition whether...or B1 (used to introduce two or more possibilities ) it is not important if: I'm going, whether she likes it or not. Someone's got to tell her, whether it's you or me. Let's face it - you're going to be late whether you go by bus or train .Connecting words which express a contrast Grammar:Whether not ifWe use whether and not if after prepositions:Grammar:I doubt if, I don’t know whetherWe use if or whether to introduce clauses after verbs of doubting:Grammar:If, whether: typical errors[talking about a trip to Australia for a year]Grammar:If or whether?Grammar:If and whether: indirect questionsWe can use if or whether to report indirect yes-no questions and questions with or. If is more common than whether:Grammar:WhetherWhether is a conjunction.Grammar:Whether in indirect questionsWe use whether in indirect yes-no questions and questions with or. We can’t leave out whether (or if):Grammar:Whether … orWe use whether … or to introduce a clause giving two options or alternatives:Grammar:Whether … or notWe use whether … or not or whether or not to give an opposite alternative:
(Definition of whether conjunction from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of whether

Definitions of “whether” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the art and knowledge involved in preparing and eating good food

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More