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Can I use "whether" two times in a sentence?

Is this correct to say?

Whether to show the biological foundation of musical ability or whether to exhibit that musicality precedes music and language, one should perhaps start with searching for ...

 

Could you please let me know if I should delete the second "whether ". How about if I keep it (which I prefer to, because of the rhythm). Is it grammatically incorrect?

Thanks.

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Chris999 profile picture Chris9993 weeks ago
It's fine to do that in modern English, but it may imply a different meaning to some people. In short the most correct form would be a single "whether", but there's nothing strictly wrong with two.

"Whether to X or Y" implies you will do one of the two options, i.e. it essentially aligns with the meaning of "either".

"Whether to X" on the other hand covers the possibility of either doing X, or not.

With "Whether to X or whether to Y", the use of the word "or" should ensure the same meaning as my first example, but someone might think the decision to do X and decision to do Y are being made in isolation, rather than choosing between the two.
exRanger profile picture exRanger3 weeks ago
In your example sentence, the "second instance" of using the word "whether" is superfluous and unnecessary; the initial "whether" covers both portions of your statement, i.e.:

"Whether to show the biological foundation of musical ability or to exhibit that musicality precedes music and language, one should..."

So yes, I recommend that you delete the "second" instance of the word "whether" from your statement. -exRanger