How to use “whether” and “if”

Whether vs. if
We can use if or whether before reported speech. Their meaning is the same:

”Do you have enough time?” [direct speech]
I asked her if / whether she had enough time. [reported speech]

“I don’t know.” [direct speech]
She doesn’t know if / whether she has enough time. [reported speech]

However, if the reported clause comes first in the sentence, we use whether, not if:

Whether he’ll come to the wedding we don’t know.
If he’ll come we don’t know.
After a preposition we use whether:

There was a long discussion about whether they should sell the company.
about if they should sell

I’m not interested in whether they’re going to sell the company.
in if they're going to sell
Before to + infinitive we use whether.

We can’t decide whether to go to Scotland or Ireland for our holidays.
if to go to Scotland

2 Comments

  1. Munnazah Nadeem. - November 19, 2015, 6:05 pm Reply

    It really quenched my thirst for having the use if whether and if clause…

  2. Prabha - January 21, 2017, 12:53 pm Reply

    Thanks for clarifying the difference .in the use of whether and if

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