What’s The Difference between “Whether It Be” and “Whether It Is”

This article will discuss the difference between “Whether It Be” and “Whether It Is.” These two similar terms have the same meaning, but many people are confused about using them in different sentences. Both are phrases and grammatically correct, but they differ in usage and formality.

So, let’s delve into the main discussion.

Meaning of “Whether It Be”

“Whether It Be” is an idiomatic expression in English that is used to introduce a condition or alternative. It doesn’t matter which one (where there are multiple possibilities)

When to Use “Whether It Be”

“Whether it be” is a subjunctive most commonly used during formal writing like creative writing, essays, or academic papers where a more creative style is required.

Authors often choose language and words like “Whether it be” that add a certain level of gravity to their statements.

For Example:

  • He has a variety of skills, whether it be in development, graphic design, or marketing.
  • He’s dedicated to fitness, whether it be through running, weightlifting, or yoga.
  • Whether it be a job interview or a social gathering, confidence is key.

Meaning of “Whether It is”

“Whether it is” meaning is “is it true that…” used to introduce a conditional statement between two alternatives and with a focus on a “Yes” or “No” answer

When to Use “Whether It is”

“Whether It is” is indicative and most commonly used in informal discussions like daily conversations and written communication. It sounds natural and clear without being overly formal.

For Example:

  • I can’t decide whether it is the green or white shirt I should wear.
  • She is determined to succeed, whether it is in academics or sports.
  • We must conserve resources, whether it is water, energy, or natural habitats.

Common Mistakes:

When we talk about the difference between these two terms, people often make some common mistakes. Here are some errors to avoid:

1.      Overusing “Whether It Is”:

Mistake: People rely only on “Whether It Is” in formal settings.

Clarification: “Whether It Is” is versatile, it may lack the gravitas desired in more formal contexts. Be mindful of the appropriate level of formality required in your writing.

2.      Unreal Situations with “Whether It Is”:

Mistake: Using “Whether It Is” to introduce hypothetical or unreal scenarios.

Clarification: “Whether It Is” for situations where a straightforward choice or decision is presented. For hypothetical scenarios, opt for the subjunctive mood with “Whether It Be.”

3.      Neglecting the Subjunctive Mood:

Mistake: Failing to recognize the subjunctive mood associated with “Whether It Be.”

Clarification: Understand that “Whether It Be” often involves hypothetical or unreal conditions. Pay attention to the subjunctive mood when crafting sentences to ensure grammatical accuracy.

4.      Lack of Alternatives:

Mistake: Using either phrase without presenting multiple alternatives or choices.

Clarification: Both phrases typically introduce a set of alternatives. Ensure that your sentences involve a range of possibilities, reinforcing the idea of choice or condition.

5.      Disregarding Tone and Style:

Mistake: Neglecting to consider the tone and style appropriate for the given context.

Clarification: Choose between the phrases based on the formality and desired impact. Consider whether a more formal or casual tone aligns with the overall communication goals.


“Whether It Be” lends a more poetic or sophisticated touch, while “Whether It Is” is straightforward and less formal. Both terms have the same meanings but the usage is different.

I hope this article is very helpful for your understanding. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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