Inicio > Recursos Inglés > WHETHER vs. IF (2)

WHETHER vs. IF (2)

22 / 10 / 2008

WHETHER vs. IF (2): meaning and examples

Good morning.

Today we continue our look at the differences between IF and WHETHER. Today we look at the cases where whether should be used. Following I have briefly summarised when we use the adverb whether.

1. After prepositions we can only use whether, not if.

-->Many people haven't decided about whether they will vote for Obama or McCain.

-->We haven't settled the question of whether we'll drive to the party or take public transport.

2. Before infinitives, we can only use whether, but not if.

-->I can't decide whether to take public transport or not.

Notice in both cases (1) and (2), there is a sort of option or alternative (as we discussed yesterday).

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

-->Whether we can find parking is another matter. - (Subject)

-->The question is whether we will be able to find parking. - (Complement)

-->The question is if we will be able to find parking. - (Correct, but less preferred)

4). 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.

Thanks for the question Josep Mª.

If anyone has any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, they should post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (

Whether you have a lot of time or not, I hope you find time to practice a little English today.

I'll see you tomorrow.