More from my days at Bank of America.
Should you use “if,” or “whether”?
- “If” says that the event just mentioned might happen
- “Whether” says which event that follows will happen; it always says or implies “or not”
Example using “if”
“Send me a message to tell me if the bank was robbed”
- “The message appears if the bank was robbed; Otherwise, there’s no message
- The existence of the event determines what happens.
Example using “whether”
“Tell me whether (or not) the bank was robbed”
- “The message tells you about the existence or non-existence of the robbery
- You get either “the bank was robbed” or you get “the bank was not robbed.”
- “If” applies to what came before, and tells of existence
- “Whether” applies to what follows, and shows a choice
Hmm. What would be a good illustration showing this distinction?