Then there are the words I don't like. The words I try my hardest not to use. I've never been much of a fan of screech and cabbage – in more ways than one – and another word I'm really not a fan of is whether. (Not to be confused with wether; which is a male ram or sheep. Or a castrated billy goat or ram. Depending on your sources.)
I hate whether. It sounds clunky, it's spelt funny – as if it's intentionally trying to be both clever and difficult – and, personally, whenever I use it in a sentence, I cringe and have to change it. Even if that means erasing a few sentences. I have to get rid of the whether, no matter what.
Considering all this, how whether has gained such popularity over the last century is an intriguing conundrum. Let's take the following fictional example that I just made up, which I'd say represents its common usage fairly well:
Whether you're looking for a car that's great for days out with the family, or an open-top sports-car for fun days out with just you and your partner, we have a vehicle to suit all your needs.
For me, whether is lazy. It's what you write when you don't know what to write, or you're in a rush. It's the default option which litters the world-wide-web, turning About Us pages into a copy of a copy of a copy...
Quite simply, we can all do without it.
The problem, of course, isn't really with the word itself. The fact that I despise it means very little – after all you might love it, and there are no rules about how much you are allowed to love or hate a word. Whethers problem is, sadly, more sinister. It's issue, quite simply, is that it can only really be used in one way, as I've demonstrated.
And it wouldn't be so bad if whether wasn't absolutely everywhere. But it is. It's literally everywhere. Which means that if you use it more than once in a piece of website copy, that copy is going to start to look very derivative indeed. There just isn't a way to avoid it, is the thing.
So watch your whethers. By all means use one whether, if you absolutely must, but just be careful about using it twice or three times, please!