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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    if/whether

    Can we use if/whether interchangeably in indirect questions?
    e.g. Can you tell me if/whether he wil come tomorrow? And after: do you mind?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: if/whether

    Quote Originally Posted by ronao View Post
    Can we use if/whether interchangeably in indirect questions?
    Normally, but we use only whether if the indirect question is fronted:

    Whether he is still there, I just don't know.
    Last edited by Piscean; 27-Aug-2015 at 15:55. Reason: formatting

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: if/whether

    There's another situation where only 'if' works.
    "I'll be out in the garden. Can you tell me if Mary comes?"

    There are probably sentences where only 'whether' works, but someone else can think of one.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: if/whether

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    There's another situation where only 'if' works.
    "I'll be out in the garden. Can you tell me if Mary comes?.
    I don't think we are dealing with indirect speech here; it seems to me to be a conditional. ​In the event of Mary's arrival, please inform me of this.
    Last edited by Piscean; 27-Aug-2015 at 08:33. Reason: fixed typo

  5. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: if/whether

    I don't think "Do you mind whether ..." would work.
    Would it?

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: if/whether

    In one sense. Do you mind whether he comes or not?

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: if/whether

    Generally speaking, if you can add "or not" then you can (old purists may say "should") use "whether."

    I don't know whether (or not) he is coming.
    I don't care whether or not he is coming. (Neutral on his being there.)
    I don't mind if he comes. If he comes, I don't mind. (I have no objection to his being there.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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