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.

Share this Post