Which to use: ‘if’ or ‘whether’?

If you’ve ever wondered whether ‘if’ is the same as ‘whether,’ this one’s for you.

If and whether are fascinating but tricky words. Both are conjunctions, and sometimes they mean the same thing. Sometimes.

Webster’s New World Dictionary includes this definition for both words: “used to introduce an indirect question.” In that case, you can use the terms interchangeably without changing the gist of the sentence:

Sometimes, a writer will use if or whether to express a condition. The two words take on similar but slightly different meanings in conditional clauses. In conditional clauses, if means “on condition that; supposing that,” whereas, whether often means “in either case that,” so that the clause includes alternatives.

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