It's not important if it rains or not.

Does this sentence sound odd to you because of using 'if' instead of using 'whether'?

  • No, you can't use "if" in this kind of interrogative conditional. Only "whether" is possible. The answer you got below is wrong, I'm afraid.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


It's not important if it rains or not.

There's nithing wrong with the sentence; it's grammatical.

You can use either whether or if with "or not" in end position, with no difference in meaning. However, the use of whether is far more common and idiomatic in the sentence.

You can also use "or not" immmediately after whether as follows:

It's not important whether or not it rains.

  • Sorry Khan, but that is incorrect. With this kind of interrogative conditional clause, it is not possible to use "if". Only "whether" is permitted.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 7:08
  • @ BillJ can you elaborate on this, please?
    – whitecap
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 7:19
  • @whitecap Closed interrogative subordinate clauses are marked by one or other of the interrogative subordinators "if" or "whether", and typically they are interchangeable, but not always. One construction where "if" is not permitted is the so-called 'exhaustive conditional', the kind that appears in adjunct function. Briefly, the OP's example means "It's not important if it rains" and "it's not important if it doesn't rain", so all possibilities are 'exhausted', hence the name of the construction.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 8:20
  • dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/…
    – Khan
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 15:14
  • The examples in the link are not exhaustive conditionals and hence nor relevant here.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 17:38

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