I've found a quote saying that "If-clauses that do not follow Conditional I, II or III are always wrong". Let's take this sentence as example:

"I have been wondering if it is okay to use weapons"

Would this be wrong because it is not using Cond. I, II, III? Or isn't this a sentence considered an "If-clause" at all?

"I have been wondering whether it is okay to use weapons or not"

would be an alternative but I am curious whether the first example is wrong or right though.

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL :-) Please can you give us the quote? It will help us to give you a proper answer. Mar 17, 2017 at 10:30
  • I am afraid that I won't be able to find it in time but I also remember my english teacher said the same thing about "if-clauses" aswell.
    – Zesa Rex
    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:33
  • 2
    Well, I don't have time to answer now, I'm afraid, but your teacher was wrong. Conditionals 1,2 and 3 are only patterns that are helpful for learners. There are many different structures we can use in conditional if-clauses. Secondly if-clauses are also used as interrogative (question) clauses. In your sentence the if-clause is an interrogative clause. Your sentence means "I was wondering: Is it ok to use weapons?" Mar 17, 2017 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


You can say that an if-clause is usually used in conditional sentences, but you cannot say that it is used only in conditional types 1, 2, and 3 sentences. Look at the following sentences that are zero conditional:

If my husband has a cold, I usually catch it.

He gets upset if (=when) I disagree with him.

You also use the if-clause in indirect speech, imperative sentences, etc. as follows:

He asked me if I could come to the meeting.

I asked him if I could help him.

I wonder if he understands what I mean.

Ask him if he can come to the party.

As for the sentence in question, you can use either if or whether, without any difference in meaning:

I have been wondering whether/if it's ok to use weapons or not.

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