Whether It Be

The headline below appeared on BESOCCER.COM in March 2023.

  • "Ancelotti will help me, whether it be Real or Brazil" - Vinicius.

The full sentence appears in the second paragraph of the article.

  • "Ancelotti will help me, whether it be at Real Madrid or with the Brazilian national team."
Whether it be

The phrase, "whether it be at Real Madrid or with the Brazilian national team," uses the present subjunctive form "be" instead of the indicative form "is."

This construction suggests a hypothetical or uncertain condition. It implies that Ancelotti's association with either Real or Brazil is not yet determined or known. The subjunctive mood is often used to express doubt, possibility, or a hypothetical situation.

This is what the indicative form looks like:

  • "Ancelotti will help me, whether it is at Real Madrid or with the Brazilian national team."

In this phrase, "whether it is Real or Brazil" uses the indicative form "is." This form is used to state a fact or present a real condition. It suggests that Ancelotti is associated with either Real Madrid or with the Brazilian national team, and the speaker is presenting these as existing options. The indicative mood is used to express certainty or to talk about something considered real or true.

So, the difference lies in the level of certainty and the hypothetical nature of the conditions presented. The subjunctive mood implies uncertainty or a hypothetical scenario, while the indicative mood suggests a certain or known condition.

Furthermore, the article mentions the following:

  • "Carlos Ancelotti's future is up in the air and a lot of sources are already announcing him joining the Brazil national side."

"Up in the air" means uncertain, undetermined or unknown. Therefore, the subjunctive mood is appropriate.

The comma before "whether," although optional, is used to separate the introductory phrase "Ancelotti will help me" from the dependent clause "whether it be Real or Brazil." This helps to clarify the structure of the sentence and improves readability. Omitting the comma would not result in any grammatical errors or change the meaning of the sentence. The writer's choice would likely depend on stylistic or clarity purposes.

If you decide to use this pattern, I would suggest you stick to the verb "be." Other verbs sound awkward if they are used in the subjunctive form with "whether." In less formal English, the indicative form is usually used instead of the subjunctive form.

Other quotes in which the present subjunctive mood is used with "whether" include the following:

  • "My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

From: Marketwatch

  • "Whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, 'private' social media comments can get you sacked"

It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, so that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.

From: britannica.com

  • “‘But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, blasphemes Yahweh. That soul shall be cut off from among his people."

From: Bible Hub

If you are interested in learning more about the subjunctive mood, check out our courses:

In this course, you can observe the difference between verb tenses in the indicative mood and verbs used in the subjunctive mood.

If you are mainly concerned with the subjunctive mood, this course would be right for you.

If you click on the links above, you will find a course description and a syllabus of the courses.

If you are ready to enroll, please click on the links below.

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