Context: Let's say somebody talked to me as if I am Muslim just because of my ethnicity. Can I respond to that person with these sentences? I am asking this because I think the word "if" is probably wrong in these sentences. Should I not use "if" in them?

  1. How do you know if I am Muslim?
  1. How do you know if I am Muslim or not?
  1. How do you know if I am Muslim or whatever?
  1. How do you know if I am Muslim or anything?
  • Fyi, it could be Christian, Buddhist or animist. The last two are slangy.
    – Lambie
    Sep 19, 2020 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


The title of your question uses the form "How do you know I am Muslim?", and that form does not appear in any of your examples 1-4. That form means the same as "How do you know that I am Muslim?", and in effect admits that you are Muslim.

For the other examples, you could use the word "whether" in place of "if". It would be a little clearer in these sentences. Then, I would discard sentences 3 and 4 because they sound a little clumsy.

Finally, for that situation, you might say

"Why do you assume that I am Muslim?"

That would put the burden of explaining the assumption on the other person.


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