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Weather or Whether: What's the Difference?

Get a memory trick to remember the spelling of "weather" and "whether."

By
Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read

People often have trouble remembering which word is spelled "weather" and which word is spelled "whether." Here's my memory trick:

Weather (such as a storm) affects the sea, and "sea" is spelled with an "ea" just like "weather."

  • Weather affects the sea.

The other spelling ("whether") is a conjunction that introduces choices:

  • I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
  • Squiggly wasn't sure whether Aardvark would be able to make it to the party

Just remember the "sea" trick for "weather," and then you know that "whether," the conjunction, is the other spelling.

And here’s a final tidbit you’re unlikely to know already: "wether" is a real word too. It’s the name for a castrated ram. 

Quiz: 'Whether' or 'Weather'

Fill in the blank:

1. Check the ________________ before you leave for the airport.

2. I'm not sure ____________________ I want to buy tickets ahead of time.

3. The rainy __________________ is getting me down.

4. Have you heard the ________________ report today?

5. Do you know ________________ it is supposed to rain tomorrow?

6. _______________ Aardvark can make it to the party depends on the ___________________.

 

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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