When to Use Which of These Homophones?
The words “weather” and “whether” sound exactly the same, but mean very different things. Ahh, the tricky power of homophones! Let’s learn how to distinguish and correctly use these commonly confused words, weather vs. whether, using some fun examples and cartoons.
“Weather:” Definition and Meaning
The first step in knowing the difference between weather vs. whether is to know that the definition of the word “weather” (with an “ea” after the “w”) is a noun which refers to what the sky, temperature, and surrounding outdoor conditions are doing. Is it sunny or rainy outside? Hot or cloudy? Muggy, windy, or snowing? You’re talking about WEATHER.
One trick to remember this definition and spelling combo is to look at the first four letters of “weather,” which are “weat.” These letters are also present in the words “sweater” and “sweat” — two words that are frequently used when discussing what the weather conditions are outside!
Note: though “weather” is usually used a noun, it can also be used as a verb meaning “to endure or stay strong during difficult conditions” (ex: a literal or figurative storm), or to wear away at something long enough to make it look “weathered” like a piece of wood that’s been left out in the rain.
NOUN Examples of “Weather” in Sentences
• The weather for the past three weeks was so rainy that the streets filled with water, and octopi started partying on the highways!
• In the ABC Islands of the Caribbean, the weather is shockingly perfect, since Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are all outside of the Hurricane Belt and thus out of harm’s way when storms barrel through.
Examples of “Weather as a VERB
• He was able to weather the storm of his father’s fury by taking deep breaths, then apologizing for breaking the statue, and helping his dad fix it.
• I want to weather my jeans so they become softer and lighter. Do you think it will achieve that effect if I put them through the dryer four hundred times?
“Whether:” Synonyms and Definition
In the weather vs. whether battle, the word “whether” (with a “he” after the “w”) is a conjunction meaning: “if” or “even if.” When used in a sentence, the word is often followed by two alternatives that the speaker is picking between. Sometimes the second option is explicitly stated, and sometimes it’s implied as “or not.”
One way to remember the definition of “whether” is to look at the second letter, “h,” which is the start of the onomatopoeia sound “hmm…” that people make when trying to decide between two things.
Examples of “Whether” in Sentences
• “Aww, I will always still love you, whether you’re freshly bathed or covered in mud.” (Note: This is based on an actual moment that just happened with my very grubby daughter.)
• I’m not sure whether you realize who you’re talking to, but I don’t allow people use that tone with me.
Weather vs. Whether VIDEO:
“Whether or Weather?” Solutions
Whether you’re a student or adult, there’s no shame in having mixed up these confusing homophones while writing! My hope is that with this cartoon lesson on weather vs. whether, you now have tools and tricks to whether the stress of spelling challenges, and emerge victorious!
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- Liminal Space: Definition and Examples
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- Foreshadowing Definition