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Does "whether or not I should..." sound awkward? How would you say it then?

For example:

"He stood me up three times in a row," said Alice angrily. "Now I wonder whether or not I should go out with him at all!"

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Just don't lose track and repeat, as I've often heard things like this: Now I wonder whether or not I should go out with him at all or not. –  Hellion Sep 4 '11 at 0:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It doesn't sound awkward. But the "or not" is superfluous. Obviously, if you don't know whether you should go out with someone, the other possibility is that you don't go out with them. It's perfectly fine either way.

A third possibility, also perfectly fine, is to omit the "or not" but change to the negative, like this:

"He stood me up three times in a row," said Alice angrily. "Now I wonder whether I shouldn't go out with him at all!"

Native speakers would use all three constructions with no particular preferences. Interestingly, you can replace "whether" with "if" in all but the "or not" case. To use "or not" with "if", you have to say "if I should ... or not".

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Thank you, David!!! –  brilliant Sep 4 '11 at 2:52

Perhaps a better sentence to our ear would be: "He stood me up three times in a row," said Alice angrily. "Now I wonder whether or not to go out with him at all!"

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Nope. It doesn't sound awkward at all, in my opinion. There's an alternative way that you can use instead of "whether or not". You can say, "Now I wonder if I should go out with him at all (or not)", which probably sounds more informal.

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