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When do I use "if" and "whether"? Could anybody, please, help me with this? I know that "if" is used to indicate condition and "whether" is used when presenting different alternatives. But I've noticed that, many times, "if" is also used to expose distinct options, like "whether". So my question is: are there any rules that determine which of them should be used when presenting different alternatives? Or are they simply interchangeable in this case? What does the English grammar say about this? Thank you in advance! :D
Jan 3, 2016 2:50 AM
Answers · 6
"Some days, I don't know if I'm wrong or right" IF in this sentence refers to the entire phrase "I'm wrong or right" "Some days, I don't know whether I'm wrong or right" WHETHER in this sentences refers to each word "WRONG" or "RIGHT". Both sentences are correct. It just depends on what you prefer (referring to the entire phrase or referring to each words). Hope I didn't get you more confused.
January 3, 2016
Thank you, Amanda! Yeah, I get this. But, in this case, for example: "Some days, I don't know if I'm wrong or right" (Little talks, by Of Monsters and Men), "if" plays a very "whethery" role, if this makes any sense. This is what confuses me the most. Would it sound weird if I said "Some days, I don't know whether I'm wrong or right"?
January 3, 2016
I can't really explain, but "if" seems to be used as a possibility or theory ("what if they have boyfriend/girlfriend?" or "I wonder if dogs have different languages like humans do?") . Versus whether is more of a "whether you do it or not ...."
January 3, 2016
Language Skills
English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Italian