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Weather vs Whether | Definition & Example Sentences

Idioms updated on  January 29, 2024 3 min read

“Weather” refers to the state of the atmosphere at a particular time and place. Words like “rainy,” “dry,” “cold,” and “hot” are often used to describe the weather (e.g., “I checked the weather app and saw that it’ll be rainy later”).

“Whether” indicates a choice or expresses doubt (e.g., “I wonder whether she’ll eat at home or go out to a restaurant”).

Examples: Weather in a sentence

Examples: Whether in a sentence

I asked her to check the weather before we went on a hike.

She wanted to know whether I bought the gift or made it.

I’m going to the beach, regardless of what the weather is like.

He said he'd pass the exam whether he studied or not.

Weather definition

“Weather” is a noun that means “the condition of the atmosphere at a certain time and place in respect to heat, dryness, humidity, precipitation, wind, etc.”

“Weather” is derived from the Old English word “weder,” meaning “air and sky.”

Examples: Weather as a noun
The weather is lovely, so we’re going to have a picnic.
I’m not used to cold weather, so I packed as many sweaters and jackets as I could.
We wanted to escape the winter weather, so we went to California.

“Weather” can also function as a verb that means “alter the appearance of something due to sun, rain, wind, or other harsh conditions” or “endure something difficult.”

Additionally, the past participle of this verb can also function as an adjective (e.g., “The bike was weathered because it was kept outside for so long”).

Examples: Weather as a verb
The rain weathered all the patio furniture.
We will weather this challenge and come out stronger.
The company weathered the staff shortages as best they could.

Weather the storm meaning

“Weather the storm” is a popular idiom that means “to withstand a challenging time with minimal or no impact.” “Whether the storm” cannot be used to convey this meaning.

Examples: Weather the storm in a sentence
We will weather the storm and win the championship.
The small business managed to weather the storm with few financial losses.
The couple weathered the storm together and have been
together for two decades.

Whether definition

“Whether” is a conjunction that expresses doubt or indicates a choice between two possibilities. It also conveys that a statement is true in either of two cases.

Examples: Whether in a sentence
I’m unsure whether he’ll be joining us for dinner.
He doesn’t know whether he should order coffee.
I’m watching the movie, whether it gets good or bad reviews.

“If” can be used as a synonym when using “whether” to express doubt, although it can be considered slightly less formal.

Examples: Whether vs if in a sentence
Luke asked whether I bought the cake or baked it.
Luke asked if I bought the cake or baked it.

Both sentences above convey that there are two possibilities (buying the cake or baking it).

However, it is not recommended to use “if” as a synonym for “whether” when expressing that something is true in either of two cases.

Examples: Whether vs if in a sentence
I’m wearing the blue dress whether you like it or not.
I’m wearing the blue dress if you like it or not.

The use of “if” in the sentence above does not accurately convey that something is happening regardless of the circumstances because “if” is typically used to introduce a conditional statement, which is not the case in this context.

Whether or not

The correct spelling of the idiom used to express doubt or choice between two options is “whether or not.” “Weather or not” is incorrect and should be avoided.

Examples: Whether or not in a sentence
Karen wants to know whether or not you’re going to lunch with us.
Karen wants to know weather or not you’re going to lunch with us.


In many cases, it’s acceptable to omit “or not” and simply use “whether” without changing the meaning of the sentence. However, sometimes the “or not” is necessary to convey “regardless or whether” or “no matter if.”

Examples: Whether or not vs whether
She asked whether he would attend the meeting.
Derrick will go on the trip whether or not or not his friends join him.
I will go swimming whether it rains.

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


Idioms

Parts of speech

Fallacies

Diamond in the rough

Irregular verb

Slippery slope fallacy

Idioms

Gerund

Sunk cost fallacy

Piece of cake

Infinitive phrase

Red herring fallacy

Better late than never

Infinitive

Appeal to authority fallacy

Salt of the earth

Adverb

Circular reasoning fallacy


Frequently asked questions about weather vs. whether

What does under the weather mean?

“Under the weather” is an idiom that means “feeling ill or unwell” (e.g., “Tom called out of work because he is under the weather”).

What does weather the storm mean?

“Weather the storm” is an idiom that means “overcome a challenging or difficult situation with little to no issues” (e.g., “Despite the crisis, we weathered the storm and thrived”).

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Gina Rancano

Gina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as a certificate in professional and public writing from Florida International University. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading.

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