The pattern depth in courses is dependent upon the number of feeds with selection facilities and whether the selection can be changed during knitting.

This sentence has been recited from Knitting Technology by David J Spencer. If the above sentence was written in the following way, it could make sense to me.

........whether the selection can be changed during knitting or not.

I don't know when only whether is used, and when whether is used with or not. When only whether is used, please say, what does it mean?

  • As far as I know, when whether works roughly as a two-choice if, we can drop or nor. However, we don't normally drop the or part when it means "it doesn't matter (whether ... or ...)”. Jan 1, 2016 at 17:12
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    Adding or leaving out "or not" doesn't change the meaning. We usually leave it off if the meaning is clear without it. For example: "Are we going to make apple pie today?" "That depends on whether we can get apples at the store." Leaving off "or not" is perfectly normal, because it's the obvious alternative: we can either get apples or not.
    – stangdon
    Jan 1, 2016 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Whether and whether or not mean exactly the same thing. The books on writing style I've seen often recommend leaving off the or not because it only makes the writing wordier.

  • Welcome to ELL, if you could add an example, the OP is asking for usage.
    – Peter
    Jan 1, 2016 at 17:07

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