Posted by R. Berg on May 10, 2003
In Reply to: You're right . . . (but) posted by SCBert on May 09, 2003
: As a lawyer who does a lot of writing, I have made an effort to eliminate such unnecessary words and redundancies. "Whether or not" is an example I have noted.
: "I could not decide whether to take a train" is better without the unnecessary "or not" in my opinion.
: But sometimes it is just more important to be clear about your meaning. "Whether or not the defendant stole the bracelet, he is still guilty of burglary." There without the "or not," one might have to read the sentence twice for clarity.
The defendant example isn't just unclear without "or not," it's wrong. "Or not" must be there when the clause introduced by "whether" is adverbial.