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# When to use "whether" and "if"

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Intern
Joined: 04 Mar 2017
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When to use "whether" and "if"  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2017, 01:21
Is there any preference in terms of when to use "whether" and when to use "if"?

As an example: "My entrance into B-school depends on whether I score high on the GMAT".
"My entrance into B-school depends on if I score high on the GMAT"

Are these two sentences both grammatically correct?

Is there any other usage that will prefer 'whether' to 'if'?

Thanks!
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Re: When to use "whether" and "if"  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2017, 01:37
nrxbra001 wrote:
Is there any preference in terms of when to use "whether" and when to use "if"?

As an example: "My entrance into B-school depends on whether I score high on the GMAT".
"My entrance into B-school depends on if I score high on the GMAT"

Are these two sentences both grammatically correct?

Is there any other usage that will prefer 'whether' to 'if'?

Thanks!

Hello,

As per my understanding, if is used when you are providing reasoning for something.

Eg: I will go to party if I she comes

Whether is used when you have choice or options.

Eg: I am confused whether to study in USA or in Canada.

Hope this helps.
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Re: When to use "whether" and "if"  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2017, 21:49
1
nrxbra001 wrote:
Is there any preference in terms of when to use "whether" and when to use "if"?

Hi nrxbra001, following decides the preference:

if is used for a conditional sentence, whereas whether is used when the intent is to depict a choice, an alternative or a possibility.

Quote:
As an example: "My entrance into B-school depends on whether I score high on the GMAT".
"My entrance into B-school depends on if I score high on the GMAT"

Are these two sentences both grammatically correct?

When deciding between if and whether after a preposition (on in this case), whether should be used.

Hence, the usage of if would be incorrect in this sentence.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Whether Vs If. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

Whether Vs If.pdf [16.44 KiB]

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Re: When to use "whether" and "if"  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2017, 16:54
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I've found that typically, most people think "if" sounds better, most of the time.

If you're going to make a mistake, you'll accidentally use if where you should use whether. I very rarely see people use whether where they should use if. For instance, this is the type of mistake I actually see (both on the GMAT and in real life):

"I wonder if she's going to the party?" (wrong - should be 'I wonder whether she's going')

I never see people make mistakes like this one:

"I'm not going to the party whether she goes." (wrong - should be 'I'm not going to the party if she goes')

So, I'd recommend leaning towards using "whether" if you're not sure. If you need to use 'if', your ear should tell you about it. Otherwise, if you think it's ambiguous and you're really not sure which one is right, 'whether' is usually the right choice. This rule of thumb will probably be easier to remember (and easier to use on test day) than trying to suss out the meaning of the sentence.
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Re: When to use "whether" and "if"   [#permalink] 05 Jul 2017, 16:54
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