If You Can't Decide Whether to Use "Whether" or "If"--Read This Article

by Tina Blue
June 27, 2002

Here is a simple rule for deciding whether to choose "whether" or "if":

~"If" introduces one condition, whereas "whether" introduces alternative possibilities, usually with "or not" implied or expressed.



~If we save carefully for the next year, we can afford to spend next summer in Europe.

~If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.


~There is a simple rule for deciding whether to choose "whether" or "if."

~Whether we have that much saved by next June or not, we plan to spend the summer in Europe.

~I honestly can't tell you whether I will be free to take that position by October.

~She had to decide whether she should go to the party or stay home and study.

~I didn't know whether I should continue trusting him or cut my losses and run.

~Considering all that had happened during the previous year, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

~You need to decide whether you will be able to keep your mouth
shut if you can't think of something positive to say about the exhibit.
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