IF vs WHEN

What if?

IF
We use if to introduce a possible or unreal situation or condition.

 

Possible / Might happen
  1. If my friend visits Singapore, I will take him to Gardens by the Bay. He might not come!
  2. If I have time tonight, I will do my homework. I am very busy though. I might not have time!
Unreal / Imaginary
  1. What if I could fly like a bird! 
  2. If I could fly, I wouldn’t need to take the MRT to work!
  3. If I had been born in Singapore, I would have learned Chinese

 

When it rains, it pours!

WHEN
We use when to refer to the time of a future situation or condition that we are certain of.
certain future
  1. When my friend visits Singapore, I will take him to Gardens by the Bay. He is coming next week!
  2. When I have time tonight I’ll do my homework. I finish work at 5pm so I’ll have time
Mark Schenker

Originally from the United States, Mark has been teaching English abroad for the past five years. He worked in Japan before moving to Singapore. He loves learning new languages and takes pride in helping English Language Learners.

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