The Farlex Grammar Book > English Spelling and Pronunciation > Common Mistakes and Commonly Confused Words > weather vs. whether
weather vs. whether
What is the difference between weather and whether?
In everyday speech, weather and whether are usually pronounced the same way: /ˈwɛðər/. (Some dialects do pronounce the H very subtly, though it comes before the /w/ sound—/ˈhwɛðər/. However, this isn’t very common, especially in American English.)
Weather primarily functions as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it generally means “the atmospheric conditions at a given place and time, with respect to temperature, moisture, humidity, wind speed, etc.” As a verb, it means “to affect or be affected by the actions of the weather” or “to survive, withstand, or endure some hardship, such as a crisis, storm, or other trouble.” For example:
- “I think the weather is supposed to be nice this weekend.”
- “The worst part of living in this country is the terrible weather all year.”
- “The old car has weathered quite a bit over the years, its tires flat and its paint faded.”
- “I just hope our rickety old house will be able to weather the storm.”
- “The company managed to weather the financial crisis and is now dominating the market.”
Whether, meanwhile, is a conjunction, most commonly used to introduce one or more alternatives, especially in an indirect question. For example:
- “I’ll support your decision, whether you decide to stay in the job or not.”
- “Whether by skill or pure dumb luck, he managed to make it into the finals of the tournament.”
- “We weren’t sure whether you would get here today or tomorrow.”
Just remember that if you are describing something with physical properties or you are describing an action that someone or something performs, then the correct spelling is weather. If you are using a grammatical function word that joins parts of a sentence together, whether is correct.
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