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.

Click here for online practice exercises with IF and WHEN.

Answer the questions below using WHEN or IF in your answers:

  1. What will happen if you don’t pay your taxes?
  2. Where will you go on your next holiday?
  3. What is the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?
  4. What do you normally cook at barbecues?
  5. What type of music do you listen to at the gym or when you are working out?
  6. How old do you have to be to drive in your country?
  7. How do you feel after you walk or run 5 kilometres?
  8. Do you use your phone when you are driving?

Download PDF worksheet and exercises

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