What are the differences between "whether" and "either"?

For me, they mean about the same, something about the choice between 2 or more things.

  • I want to eat either an apple or a banana.
  • People became healthier whether because of intake of apples or bananas.

Are they absolutely the same?

  • 2
    So if you swapped either for whether in the first sentence, would it seem correct to you? Then, if you swapped whether for either in the second sentence, would that look right?
    – JMB
    Jan 19, 2021 at 10:25
  • This tricky answer isn't an answer :)
    – user127880
    Jan 19, 2021 at 10:27
  • 6
    Indeed it isn't. It might give you food for thought to help clear things up for you bit by bit, though.
    – JMB
    Jan 19, 2021 at 10:28
  • does the second sentence sound awkward with any of the options, or is it just me? Jan 19, 2021 at 12:48
  • I will eat either an apple or a banana whether i'm hungry or not. Whether it's a determiner or conjunction, be wary of either. :P
    – Joe Dark
    Apr 21, 2022 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


"whether" and "either" are two different words pragmatically. There is a slight difference between them, and they are not quite the same.

For a start, both are fixed expressions, which means you should be careful not confuse them with one another.

  1. whether ... or ... ( meaning: it is not important if );

whether ... or not ( meaning: if, or not );

  1. either ... or ... ( meaning: there is a choice between two possibilities );

Now that I've covered the differences, you can decide which to use and when.

for example

  1. He seemed undecided whether to go or stay. (a doubt between alternatives);

  2. It's fine to do either.

  • Thank you! May you add some examples to your answer, please?
    – user127880
    Jan 19, 2021 at 18:43
  • @LoveLanguagesAndPeople How about now?
    – Alex TheBN
    Jan 19, 2021 at 21:31

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