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I want to know the difference between that and whether in the following sentences.

For many hours we discussed that we had to lower the price; however, we failed to reach a conclusion.

For many hours we discussed whether we had to lower the price; however, we failed to reach a conclusion.

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  • The "that" version is effectively equivalent to the fact that - so it means you knew right from the start that you had to lower the price. So you must have been discussing how, and/or what effects this would have, rather than whether or not to cut the price (that being a "foregone conclusion", so the "however" clause doesn't really work in that version). May 28, 2023 at 10:54

2 Answers 2

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In the context of that example sentence, "that" introduces a fact, and "whether" introduces a binary choice.

The first sentence means it's true that you have to lower the price and the discussion was about that fact, like maybe discussing when or how much to lower the price, or how to communicate this price to customers, etc.

The second sentence means you had a conversation to decide if it was necessary to lower the price or not.

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In your example, "that" and "whether" serve different purposes.

"For many hours we discussed that we had to lower the price; however, we failed to reach a conclusion."

In this sentence, "that" is used to indicate a specific proposition or statement that was discussed. In this case, the discussion was focused on the proposition that they had to lower the price.

"For many hours we discussed whether we had to lower the price; however, we failed to reach a conclusion."

In this sentence, "whether" is used to indicate a question or doubt. In this case, the discussion was focused on whether or not they had to lower the price.

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  • In the OP's example, "whether we had to lower the price" is a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) functioning as complement of "discussed". The meaning is "... we discussed the answer to the question 'Did we have to lower the price'?'"
    – BillJ
    May 28, 2023 at 11:35

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