Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whether vs If

1). After Prepositions , we use only whether.

I haven't settled the question of whether I'll go back home.
There was a big argument about whether we should move to a new house.

2). Whether, but not if, is used before infinitives.

They can't decide whether to get married now or wait.

3). When a question-word clause is a subject or complement, whether is preferred.

Whether we can stay with my mother is another matter. - (Subject)
The question is whether the man can be trusted. - (Complement)

The question is if the man can be trusted. - Correct but less preferred.

4). If an indirect question is fronted , whether is used.

Whether I'll have time I'm not sure at the moment.

5). Whether is generally preferred in a two - part question with or.

The Directors have not decided whether they will recommend a dividend or reinvest the profits.

6). After verbs that are more common in a formal style, whether is preferred.

We discussed whether we should close the shop.

7). Whether and if both can introduce indirect questions.

I'm not sure whether / if I'll have time.

8). Yes / No questions are reported with if or whether.

I don't know if / whether I can help you.


It's good practice to distinguish between these words. Use if for a conditional idea, whether for an alternative or possibility. Thus, Let me know if you'll be coming means that I want to hear from you only if you're coming. But Let me know whether you'll be coming means that I want to hear from you about your plans one way or the other


Note - The word IF does not always signal a conditional sentence. In such cases, the GMAT prefers "whether" instead of "if"

I don't know if I will go to the dance. (Incorrect)
I don't know whether I will go to the dance. (Correct)

Original Source: http://gmat-grammar.blogspot.com/2006/07/whether-vs-if.html

3 comments:

  1. GMAT exam is based on three difficult sections. So students should concentrate on each section section. Getting help from an expert for the section in which you are facing problem is a great idea.

    Best Regards
    GMAT Critical Reasoning

    ReplyDelete
  2. Probably those are the reasoning grounds which would even help students with all those possible interest which must be initiated by them. essay writing AU

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such as very good information,
    Thank goodness someone is promoting quality content. these information was more effective content.
    GMAT Classes Chennai
    GMAT Coaching institutes in Chennai

    ReplyDelete