Whether vs. Rather

By Jaxson

  • Whether

    An interrogative word or question word is a function word used to ask a question, such as what, when, where, who, whom, why, and how. They are sometimes called wh-words, because in English most of them start with wh- (compare Five Ws). They may be used in both direct questions (Where is he going?) and in indirect questions (I wonder where he is going). In English and various other languages the same forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses (The country where he was born) and certain adverb clauses (I go where he goes).

    A particular type of interrogative word is the interrogative particle, which serves to convert a statement into a yes–no question, without having any other meaning. Examples include est-ce que in French, ли li in Russian, czy in Polish, ĉu in Esperanto, কি ki in Bengali, 吗 ma in Chinese, mı/mi in Turkish, pa in Ladin, か ka in Japanese and ko/kö in Finnish. (The English word whether has a similar function but only in indirect questions; and Multicultural London English may use “innit”, even in the absence of the pronoun “it”.) Such particles contrast with other interrogative words, which form what are called wh-questions rather than yes–no questions.

    For more information about the grammatical rules for forming questions in various languages, see Interrogative.

  • Rather

    Rather may refer to:

    Ratherius, bishop of Verona

    Dan Rather, news presenter

    Elizabeth Rather, expert in the computer programming language Forth

    Susan Rather, character in 555 (1988 film)

  • Whether (determiner)

    Which of two.

  • Whether (pronoun)

    Which of two. 11th-19th c.

  • Whether (conjunction)

    Introducing a direct interrogative question (often with correlative or) which indicates doubt between alternatives.

  • Whether (conjunction)

    Used to introduce an indirect interrogative question that consists of multiple alternative possibilities (usually with correlative or).

    “He chose the correct answer, but I don’t know whether it was by luck or by skill.”

  • Whether (conjunction)

    Without a correlative, used to introduce a simple indirect question.

    “Do you know whether he’s coming?”

  • Whether (conjunction)

    Used to introduce a disjunctive adverbial clause which qualifies the main clause of the sentence (with correlative or).

    “He’s coming, whether you like it or not.”

  • Rather (adverb)

    More quickly; sooner, earlier. 9th-19th c.

  • Rather (adverb)

    Used to specify a choice or preference; preferably. (Now usually followed by than) from 9th c.

    “I’d rather stay in all day than go out with them.”

    “I’d like this one rather than the other one.”

    “I’d rather be with you.”

  • Rather (adverb)

    Used to introduce a contradiction; on the contrary. from 14th c.

    “It wasn’t supposed to be popular; rather, it was supposed to get the job done.”

    “She didn’t go along, but rather went home instead.”

  • Rather (adverb)

    Introducing a qualification or clarification; more precisely. (Now usually preceded by or.) from 15th c.

    “I didn’t want to leave. Or rather I did, just not alone.”

  • Rather (adverb)

    Somewhat, fairly. from 16th c.

    “This melon is rather tasteless.”

    “This melon is rather tasteless, especially compared to the one we had last time.”

  • Rather (verb)

    To prefer; to prefer to.

  • Rather (adjective)

    Prior; earlier; former.

  • Rather (interjection)

    An enthusiastic affirmation.


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