I am confused about which conjunction I should use when I want to express a conditional sentence.

For instance:

a) what do I do when I am bored or

b) what do I do if I am bored.

I don't quite understand the concept of both conjunctions.

  • if is conditional and 'when' is situational here. Said that, the latter one asks for the situation when you get bored and the former one tells about it! – Maulik V Oct 9 '15 at 7:11

According to English grammar today, if you refer to situations and conditions that are repeated or predictable, you can use either if or when + present simple.

So I see no difference in these sentences.

Further reference:


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"if" is used for certain situations that is or possible to happen with doubts or wonder. There is no assurance when you use "if", and is usually used in thinking or giving ideas for the future. KEYWORDS: SITUATIONS HAVE NO ASSURANCE

"when" is used for situations that has happened. The situation has assurance and has no doubt or wonder if it did happen or not. KEYWORDS: SITUATIONS HAVE ASSURANCE

example: tense of the situation (has happened or not)

IF I will believe in my credibility, I'll succeed. WHEN I believed in my credibility, I succeeded.

IF you will be the president, what will you do? WHEN you were the president, what did you do?

in assurance of the situation:

IF you have the time, give me a call. -(just a probability, not sure if the person will have time for the other to give a call. It means that IF YOU WILL JUST HAVE THE TIME, GIVE A CALL, AND IF THERE WILL BE NO TIME FOR YOU TO CALL, IT'S ALRIGHT)

WHEN you have the time, give me a call. - (the person is sure that there will be a time, but there's no specific time when will the other person give a call. It means that WHEN YOU GET THE TIME THEN CALL ME. IT IS SURE THAT THERE WILL BE A TIME.)

Hope this helps! :)

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