Weather vs. Whether

August 4, 2011

in Technical Writing

Some words were designed to slip past the spell check when misspelt, and that is why TheWritingSite is here, to make sure you don’t make silly mistakes. One of the classic examples of a word that always slips under the MS Word radar is wether, along with its homonyms, whether and weather. It is all too easy to slip on the keyboard and end up using the wrong spelling and therefore applying the wrong meaning. So, for clarification, let’s look at the meaning of each and determine when to use each appropriately.

Weather:

Of course you know that this is with reference to rain, sun, wind, sleet, hail, snow, etc. The easy way to remember this spelling is to think ‘a’, because neither whether or wether contain an ‘a’. For example:

The weather today is delightful

Whether:

Think ‘wh’ and think “whether or not”. This whether is about choice, whether to do one thing or another. For example:

I am not sure whether to go to see the doctor or not.

Wether:

Lastly we come to the not so commonly used “wether”. You probably don’t know what this means, unless you are a farmer of course. It’s actually a male sheep or ram, or a castrated ram or billy goat according to A Word A Day. For example:

My wether has been very sick of late.

If we put all these in a sentence we can clearly see their different meanings:

 I wonder whether the cold weather has affected the health of my wether.

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