"whether or not"

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Rahuldinno

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Hello I am new in this forum. Actually while writing a mail to my boss, I have used the word "whether or not" which made him angry. Actually I have written " Please advise whether I can give the document or not" which made him feel that the word "whether or not" is not appropriate for writing a mail to seniors. So I request you please advise how should I use the word whether or not in more polite way or is there any alternative word which could be used instead.

Thanks and regards

Rahul
 

probus

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I am familiar with the Indian dialect of English, having spent a lot of time in India and being married to an Indian.

Having said that, I cannot imagine why "whether or not" annoyed your boss. It is a common and completely innocuous expression that should not bother anybody.

Your sentence would read as well and mean the same if you had just used "whether" instead of "whether or not." Perhaps you can find a tactful way of asking him whether that would have pleased him better (or not;-)). Or maybe it would be best to let the sleeping dog lie.
 

5jj

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There are clearly many ways in which Indian English is different from other varieties. It is not for those of use who are speakers of other varieties to suggest that the Indian English versions are wrong, though we can say that they sound very strange if you are writing in a BrE/AmE/etc context. However, probus is suggesting that 'whether or not' is acceptable in Indian English (though not, apparently, to your boss).

My very limited experience of working with speakers of Indian English is that some people in positions of authority have very strong (and, to me, strange) ideas about the appropriateness of certain words and phrases. My only advice if your boss is a person like this, is to accept his views so long as you are working for him.
 

emsr2d2

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I agree with 5jj. If you don't have the kind of relationship with your boss which means you can just ask him "Why were you so angry about my using "whether or not" in my email?", then you might just have to suck it up and remember not to use it again.
 

Rahuldinno

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I agree with you all, then how should I write the same sentence without using " whether or not".
 

Kiwi watcher

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The whether or not sounds fine .. You are seeking his advice and doing it perfectly politely ... But my grievence is where you say you are writing a mail.. Never heard of a mail ..We ( here in New Zealand ) would say a letter , or use the word mailing as a verb ..
 

emsr2d2

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I suspect the OP meant that he had written an email.
 
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