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Consider these phrases:

The liquid will be either black or blue depending if this condition is true or not.

The liquid will be either black or blue if this condition is true or not.

Which one is better or is there another possibility?

I am trying to say that the liquid will be black if the condition is true or blue if the condition is not.

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An unambiguous way to put it would be as follows:

The liquid will be black if the condition is true, and blue otherwise.

or, in a more elaborate fashion:

The liquid will be black if the condition is true, and blue if the condition is false.

but there are probably a dozen other ways to say the same thing.


If we allow for some ambiguity, meaning that stating precisely whether the liquid will be blue or black upon satisfying a certain condition isn't very important to us at the moment, just that it'll be of one of those colors, and that this is dependent on the condition, we could say the following:

The liquid will be either black or blue, depending on whether the condition is true (or not).

If you include the or not, some people might (potentially wrongly) conclude that the liquid will be blue if the condition isn't met, but since people often aren't very precise when using this construction (i.e., the "true" and "not" parts need not correspond to the colors in the order in which they were stated), you shouldn't rely on it to convey information precisely.


You might also want to check out this question and the related answers: depending {upon/on} if.

  • fantastic explanation. I love the first solution. Simple and direct. Thanks. – Duck Apr 1 '20 at 19:27

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