Commas With 'Whether'

In the middle of a sentence, we do not typically use a comma before or after "whether".

In the middle of a sentence, we do not typically use a comma before or after "whether".

I don't know whether Mia is going out tonight.

I don't know, whether Mia is going out tonight.

At the beginning of a sentence, we often need a comma after the whole clause introduced by "whether".

Whether you like it or not, I'm going to buy that dress.

Whether you like it or not I'm going to buy that dress.

However, if a clause introduced by "whether" is the subject of a sentence, do not use a comma to separate it from the verb.

Whether she will apologize remains to be seen.

1. 'Whether' in mid-sentence

In general, do not use a comma before "whether" in mid-sentence.

I don't know whether she'll be back before noon.

I don't know, whether she'll be back before noon.

As a subordinating conjunction, "whether" introduces a dependent clause.

I don't know whether Isabella is coming to the party.

If the main clause precedes the dependent clause, we do not normally use a comma to separate them.

I'm not convinced whether she paid the rent.

Instead of introducing a dependent clause, you can use "whether" (followed by "to" and an infinitive) to describe the choice between two possibilities. Follow the same comma strategy in this case.

You have ten days to decide whether to buy it or not.

There are particular situations, however, where commas are required. For example, use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow.

I cannot confirm, despite rumors, whether she has a boyfriend.

2. 'Whether' at the Start of a Sentence

Look at this sentence:

Whether you agree or not, I am determined to proceed with the project.

This sentence contains two parts:

  • The first clause ("whether you agree or not") is the dependent clause.
  • The second part of the sentence ("I am determined to go ahead with the project") is the main clause (It can stand alone and expresses a complete thought).

When starting a sentence with a dependent clause, use a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

Whether you like Emma or not, don't be rude to her.

Whether you like Emma or not don't be rude to her.

Do not use a comma, however, if the "whether" clause is the subject of a sentence.

Whether the officer will submit his resignation remains to be seen.

3. More Examples (whether in a sentence)

  • Can you tell me whether there is a hardware store near here?
  • Whether we should follow this policy or not remains to be effectively addressed.
  • Do you happen to know whether Mia went to the museum alone?
  • I don't know whether John read my email.
  • Whether you like Mary or not, I'm going to marry her.
  • Can you tell me whether there is a drugstore within walking distance?
  • I'm not quite sure, despite rumors of central bank intervention, whether the dollar will continue to make gains.
  • Alice wants to know whether we have any pictures of our visit to New York.
  • Jennifer couldn't remember whether she had closed the door.
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