WHEN OR IF

WHEN OR IF?

We use WHEN for something that is definite or sure to happen and IF for something that is not sure or certain.

Compare the following:

  • When I wake up in the morning, I have a coffee.
  • When I wake up late, I must hurry.

 

  • If I don’t wake up on time tomorrow, please wake me up.
  • If I don’t finish work too late, I’ll meet you this evening.

 

You can use either WHEN or IF for repeated actions or situations with an  expected or predictable result.

  • When / If I’m late, my boss gets angry. I’m late, my boss gets angry.
  • When / If the baby wakes up, she cries.

Download PDF worksheet and exercises

Complete the sentences below with WHEN, IF or BOTH.

  1. I’ll be late _______  I don’t hurry.
  2. We will see you in Paris __________ we go for Maria’s wedding next summer. We’ve already booked the flights.
  3. You won’t pass your exam, _______ you don’t study.
  4. _______ students don’t study for their exams, they don’t pass.
  5. I’m not sure _______ I will go to work tomorrow.
  6. I’m not sure _______ the next meeting will be.
  7. I’m not sure _______ she likes me.
  8. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______ we go on holiday, we like to stay somewhere near the sea.
  9. _______ you go out in the rain without an umbrella, you will get wet.
  10. _______ he doesn’t wear sun cream, his skin goes red.