-------Just for the context------- Imagine yourself sitting on a couch, with your friend in crime, in an empty motel room, talking with each other about this enormous diamond you stole 2 days ago from this super secret vault. You're stressing out over what's gonna happen next because the security always checks in on this diamond every 4 days, and, sooner or later, they're going to find out about what you both did. Your, not so bright, friend sees you, anxiously muttering something under your breath but decides to ignore it. After an hour, he/she comes back from the grocery store, yet you're still sitting on the couch, anxiously thinking about the next move. Finally, your, not so bright, friend comes up to you and in an attempt to calm you down, says this...

A) "No one is going to know if it happened!"

B) "No one is going to know it has happened"

What would be the correct option here? It's probably A); however, I don't really know why. So could anyone explain this to me in full depth?


The first point to note is that you have used if to mean whether, which native English speakers do all the time. It's not wrong. You just need to be aware that while if is generally used to introduce a conditional clause, whether simply connects two clauses.

The sentence: No one is going to know whether (if) it happened is fine. Here you use the past tense of happen to indicate that the action is in the past; it's over and done with.

Your second sentence: No one is going to know (that) it has happened is also fine. Here you use the present perfect tense which suggests that although the action itself is past, it may have consequences for the present.

You have used two similar constructions, both of which are correct and idiomatic.

If there's any criticism, it's of your punctuation in the text setting the scene. It's wrong to use commas after your and not so bright. Not so bright is an adjectival phrase describing your friend; it is not being used in apposition (as in: ** your friend, David Jones, has arrived**) So it would be better to use hyphens to link your description of your friend: Your not-so-bright friend comes up to you.... And gonna is VERY informal.

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