Common English Errors: Weather, Whether, and Wether

It's some more of those pesky homonyms. Wether, weather, and whether. They all sound the same! Which spelling do you use, and what does each one mean?!

Tip: If you are serious about improving your spelling, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular spelling program, Ultimate Spelling. Click Ultimate Spelling for further information.*

Here's the basic definitions:

WEATHER: local meterological conditions

"My goodness, the weather has been horrendous lately, not a day without hail in the past month!"

WHETHER: doubt or choice between two alternatives

"I can't decide whether to have the Jelly Snake Trifle Extravaganza or the Deadly Chocolate Mint Mousse with Sprinkles."

WETHER: a castrated ram

"Hey Joe! The wether in the upper paddock is looking rather sleepy. Better get him his morning coffee!"

As you can see, wether is not a word that is likely to come up in everday conversation, unless you are a pastoralist or shepherd. So whether and weather are the two ones you really need to sort out, but you don't want to use wether by accident, when you mean one of the other two words!

Our pal Dylan has a great way of remembering which spelling is which:  

With weather, it's about whether there's a sun in the sky or a hurricane a-blowin'. Weather has an a in it.

All the questioning "W words" seem to start with "Wh" — eg "Who? What? Where? When? Why?", so if you're talking about whether as in "the choice", use the "Wh" version.

A wether is a castrated ram — that's why it's shorter!


*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Spelling. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Spelling software because we are happy to endorse that software.



Last modified on Sunday, 29 November 2015 00:59
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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