English Learner Article Whether and If

Summary: A look at when to use 'whether' and when to use 'if'.

By: |Audience: All|Category: English Grammar Usage Articles & Notes


1. When both choices are given, we generally use whether rather than if:

  • I don't know whether she's coming or not. (It would be possible to use if here, but less common.)

2. Before an infinitive with to we use whether:

  • I don't know whether to accept their offer or not. (If would not be used here.)

3. We can use whether after a preposition:

  • It's a question of whether we can agree on everything. (If would not be used here.)

4. Both whether and if can be used in indirect speech to introduce a yes/no question:

  • Did they say whether/if they were going to be late?

5. After some verbs, we use whether:

  • I doubt whether they'll make it.
  • We discussed whether it was the correct decision.

Google Of whether | Of if | Whether to | If to
Dictionary.com definitions: Whether | If
BNC Online examples: Whether | If

 


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