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CONJUNCTIONS. Whether: "or whether"

Whether is sometimes used after "or" where we should omit one of the two:

Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd with you,
Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?
Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true, &c.

“Move those eyes?
Or whether riding on the balls of mine
Seem they in motion?

“Or whether his fall enraged him, or how it was.

The first example is perhaps analogous to the use of "or . . . or," as in

“Why the law Salique which they have in France
Or should or should not bar us in our claim.

; T. N. iv. 1. 65.

There is, perhaps, a disposition to revert to the old idiom in which the two particles were similar: "other . . . other." (The contraction of "other" into "or" is illustrated by "whe'r" for "whether" in O.E. and the Elizabethan dramatists.) Perhaps, also, additional emphasis is sought by combining two particles. We find "whether . . . or whether?" to express direct questions in Anglo-Saxon. In the second example a previous "whether" is implied in the words "move those eyes?"

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