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1a. Many discuss the topic that whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

1b. Many discuss the topic of whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

1c. Many discuss the topic on whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

Which one is correct?

  1. I am writing to express my view on the topic that/of/on whether ...

and which one should I use for this sentence?

Can I use for all the three for the sentences I gave? Is there any difference for the first (I mean the "correct" sentence for 1) and 2?

  • 2
    Of the three, I think that 1B is the best but none of them are particularly nice. Personally, I'd try to rewrite the sentence... "Whether medicine has a true benefit on our society is a topic of much discussion.". – Catija Apr 12 '15 at 5:54
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At first none of the examples sounded good to my ear, but after I looked it up it seems that the 2nd and the 3rd are correct.

  1. Many discuss the topic that whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

Whether is a subordinating conjunction. That is also a conjunction. Pilling up conjunctions one after another does not serve a purpose, and it is grammatically incorrect. Both of these conjunctions can be used to introduce a noun clause, but in your example the noun clause is derived form a yes/no question:

Does medicine have true benefit on our society?

Therefore you should use whether (that is used for noun clauses derived from statements).

  1. Many discuss the topic of whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

Google books shows evidence of "... of whether..." construction usage, e.g. in: "...the question of whether the pure self can be conceived of in unity with a living organism." At the same time LDOCE gives examples of the construction "topic of". Since these two were my main concerns, the sentence should be correct.

  1. Many discuss the topic on whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

Again, there is evidence of usage of the phrase: topic on whether, although there are only 68 hits, which would indicate that this phrase is used rarely.

Finally, Many question whether medicine brings a true benefit to the society would be my personal preference, but there are many ways to phrase this thought.

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The simplest would be: the question whether ...

  • 1
    Seems like this would benefit from more context; it took me a bit to see what you were saying. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 13 '15 at 6:43
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1a does not sound right, coming from a native English speaker.

1b is correct.

1c can be correct, but in this specific case it is best to go with 1b because of the redundancy of the word "on".

Also, use "of" in sentence 2.

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"Whether" is a conditional kind of word. The correct one is 1b. It would be like saying "Many discuss the topic of if medicine has true benefit on our society." As a matter of fact, in American English the sentence would be "Many discuss the topic of whether medicine has any true benefit on our society." Whether is an "if" kind of word, conditional on many things. I don't know whether I should wear the blue one or the red one; I don't know IF I should wear the blue one or the red one. Same meaning to us.

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None is correct.

1a. Many discuss the topic that whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

1b. Many discuss the topic of whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

1c. Many discuss the topic on whether medicine has true benefit on our society.

I am writing to express my view on the topic that/of/on whether ...

Which one is correct?

None of them. First of all, it would not be "benefit on our society", but to, or on.

Secondly, what you're discussing is a question, not a topic.

Various possibilities:

Many {discuss, debate} whether medicine has true benefit for our society.

Many discuss the question whether medicine has true benefit for our society.

Many question the benefit of medicine to our society.

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