We have an exercise on parallelism involving rewriting sentences correctly; there's this one sentence I'm unsure as how to rewrite.

Mother cannot decide whether she will allow Cecil to attend the party or not because of the bad weather condition.

Would the following be a proper correction?

Mother cannot decide whether or not to allow Cecil to attend the party because of the bad weather condition.

I honestly can't find faulty parallelism in the original sentence, so an explanation will be very much appreciated!

  • Why do you think it needs correcting?
    – BillJ
    May 1, 2017 at 18:47
  • It's good to place "or not" after whether, but most people would consider the "or not" unnecessary.
    – Xanne
    May 1, 2017 at 18:49
  • 1
    << Because of the bad weather conditions, mother cannot decide whether or not she will allow Cecil to attend the party. >> is certainly correct. May 1, 2017 at 19:51
  • The problem with the first sentence is that "or not" is too far from "whether" to sound graceful. The OP's edit is grammatically correct. Although "whether or not" is a common phrase, "whether" alone conveys a possibility either positive or negative.
    – Theresa
    May 2, 2017 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


There's nothing technically wrong with

whether or not

Another version that has recently (by historical standards, anyway) has fallen into disuse is

whether or no

That said, in cases where "or not" is implied (such as in your example), omitting "or not" sounds more elegant. Brevity is poetry's first cousin.

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