2

I look up the examples of "no matter" in some web dictionary and don't find a sentence containing "no matter whether". But in the examples of "whether" and "irrespective" I do see sentences "He's going to buy a house whether he gets married or not." and "He was one of those men to whom a girl's left hand is simply a girl's left hand, irrespective of whether it wears rings on its third finger or not." So is "no matter whether" OK or a redundancy or grammatically wrong? But if it's a redundancy, doesn't "irrespective of whether" (in the aforementioned sentence) sound like a redundancy, too (because using "whether" suffices to convey the idea) ? Should I just use "no matter" or "whether", instead of "no matter whether", in sentences of this type? Or either way is OK?

For example, is saying "The conclusion holds true no matter whether the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation." a redundancy or grammatically wrong? Should I just say "The conclusion holds true whether the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation." or "The conclusion holds true no matter the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation."? Or either of the three ways is OK?

  • ...in sentences like "No matter whether ..." no matter is not necessarily required, presumably because whether can function like if, e.g. "Whether Mary buys a dog or a cat, I'll throw it away". But I would say you seem to be assuming that "redundancy" is somehow undesirable. I'd say it's a normal, if not necessary, feature of all languages, not just English. I'd also say your final version is probably ungrammatical. – FumbleFingers Apr 8 '16 at 14:45
  • So saying sentences containing "no matter whether" is OK because it's grammatically correct even it's a redundancy? Also, which one do you mean by my final version? – Captain Bohemian Apr 8 '16 at 14:56
  • I mean I don't like the version in your penultimate sentence above (The conclusion holds true no matter the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation), because I think to be grammatically valid at all it should include whether or if. But in both that sentence and the one in my example, a case can easily be made for saying they're actually ambiguous if you remove no matter, so it's not simply redundant anyway. – FumbleFingers Apr 8 '16 at 15:01
  • OK, I think putting "no matter" in front of a clause without squeezing "whether" or "if" between them is probably grammatically incorrect. I made that kind of sentences because I just saw some examples in the web dictionary, such as "no matter the score, Mississippi football fans always win the tailgate." But what follows "no matter" here is a noun, not a clause. But I also saw the example "Football: Home is always where the heart lies no matter the fame says Neil Lennon; Northern Ireland v France." I don't understand this sentence so don't know if what follows "no matter" here is a clause. – Captain Bohemian Apr 8 '16 at 16:10
  • In your own question text you seem to imply that you understand no matter can be equated to irrespective of. Do you still not understand your cited "home/fame" example after making the substitution there? Consider Google Books' claimed 45000 hits for no matter the cost, where it may help to assume a "deleted" element such as what or how great after no matter. – FumbleFingers Apr 8 '16 at 16:20
2

Definitions

no matter - (adv) regardless of

whether - (conj) expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives

Explanation

No matter emphasizes that which option you choose is not important.

Whether informs the listener that multiple options are about to be presented.

Examples

The conclusion holds true no matter whether the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation. - Has emphasis from no matter

The conclusion holds true whether the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation. - Does not have emphasis from no matter

The conclusion holds true no matter the proof is carried out through this formulation or that formulation. - You can't say this. It is grammatically incorrect.

  • 1
    Is ``irrespective of" also an adverb and used in the same way as "`no matter"? – Captain Bohemian May 16 '16 at 16:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.