“The question isn't whether or not we love each other. It's whether we're ready to make a lifelong commitment at our age.”

English Lesson: The question isn't whether or not we love each other. It's whether we're ready to make a lifelong commitment at our age.

You and your girlfriend are young but you've been dating each other for 6 years. Your parents have started to pressure you to get married. Your mom asks whether you love your girlfriend, so you explain that you do love her but you don't want to get married yet.

The question isn't whether or not we love each other. It's whether we're ready to make a lifelong commitment at our age.

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whether (clause)

"Whether" is similar to "if". You can use them in the same way:

I'm trying to decide whether I should take my laptop.

I'm trying to decide if I should take my laptop.

You might choose to use "whether" instead of "if" just because of the sound. "Whether I" sounds easier to pronounce than "if I".

In written English, you should follow "whether" with "...or not":

I'm trying to decide whether I should take my laptop or not.

You can also use "...or not" in spoken English, but you should put it right after "whether":

I'm trying to decide whether or not to take my laptop.

The question is (clause)

Sometimes you want to focus people's attention on one specific issue or question. This is a good phrase for doing that:

I know that she's talented. The question is, is she ready to put in the work that it takes?

The question isn't whether or not we love each other. It's whether we're ready to make a lifelong commitment at our age.

The question is how much we're able to spend per month, and whether there are any apartments in that price range available in this neighborhood.

make a commitment (to someone)

"Making a commitment" generally means promising to do something. For example, if you promised to go to a party or event, you can say this:

To be honest, I don't really want to go, but I made a commitment.

For a couple who are dating each other, "making a commitment" usually means deciding to get married.

I don't think I'm ready to make a commitment.

People especially use this phrase when talking about a man is ready to ask his girlfriend to marry him.

a lifelong (something)

Something that is "lifelong" lasts for as long as you're alive, or almost that long. Here are some common phrases that use the word "lifelong":

  • a lifelong friend (someone who's your friend from a young age until you both grow old)
  • a lifelong dream (something that you've wanted to do since you were a child)
  • a lifelong commitment (a promise to do something, like be married, for the rest of your life)
  • lifelong employment (working for the same company for one's whole career)

at (someone's) age

This is a phrase that you can use to talk about someone who's either young or old compared to other people. For example:

At your age, there's no way that you're ready for the responsibility of raising a child.

At my age, it's hard to make new friends. Most of my old friends have moved or passed away.


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