Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    bspkumar is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Telugu
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    101
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Is it ok to use whether in the following context?

    I am a technical support executive for HP Notebook's customers (chat support )

    >Our soft skills trainer suggested to not to use the word 'whether' when enquiring the customer .

    Eg: May I know whether you have disabled the firewall or not?

    Could please you suggest me another sentence to enquire the customer in a polite way?
    Last edited by bspkumar; 19-Nov-2008 at 18:28. Reason: grammer mistakes

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Is it ok to use whether in the following context?

    You shouldn't follow a "whether" with an "or not." That's "the rule." But then, to ask "whether something has been done" is a difficult question to answer for somepeople; it "doesn't compute" in their brain that quickly, so we suggest using "if" instead.

    It's especially dificult to answer when you start it with "May I know..."

    "May I know if you have disabled the firewall?"
    "Yes."
    "But I still see evidence of the firewall in place!"
    "Yes, that's because it is still enabled."
    "But you told me it was disabled."
    "No, I told you that you could know if it was disabled. And now you do."

    The preferred question is a straight-up "Have you disabled the firewall?" followed by "Please disable the firewall."

  3. #3
    bspkumar is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Telugu
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    101
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Is it ok to use whether in the following context?

    Thank you very much.I really appreciate 'usingenglish' and its members.

  4. #4
    hanky is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
      • Home Country:
      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3,104
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Is it ok to use whether in the following context?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    You shouldn't follow a "whether" with an "or not." That's "the rule." But then, to ask "whether something has been done" is a difficult question to answer for somepeople; it "doesn't compute" in their brain that quickly, so we suggest using "if" instead.

    It's especially dificult to answer when you start it with "May I know..."

    "May I know if you have disabled the firewall?"
    "Yes."
    "But I still see evidence of the firewall in place!"
    "Yes, that's because it is still enabled."
    "But you told me it was disabled."
    "No, I told you that you could know if it was disabled. And now you do."

    The preferred question is a straight-up "Have you disabled the firewall?" followed by "Please disable the firewall."
    Hi jlinger,
    I know that "if" and "whether" are the same in the sentences like

    "May I know if/whether you have disabled the firewall?". Am I right? May you tell me If there is any difference ?

  5. #5
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,211
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Is it ok to use whether in the following context?

    There is no difference, but "if" is more natural. There is a pervasive tendency to add "or not" to the sentence (either way, with if or whether), which is "wrong" but so very common that no one will look twice at you (unless you are taking an ESL test of course).

Similar Threads

  1. original context
    By bosun in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Feb-2008, 07:00
  2. Does that sentence make sense (in and out of context)
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 13-Dec-2007, 05:11
  3. what does the use of "few" in this context mean?
    By rothus in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14-Nov-2006, 15:15
  4. preconceived notionts of the context?
    By bosunyum in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Dec-2005, 03:37
  5. preach, take out of context ?
    By whl626 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 28-Oct-2003, 14:46

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •