Can an “if-clause” be used as an extraposed subject?



When a subject is a whether-clause, it can be extraposed:

[Whether (or not) he comes] makes no difference.  (basic version)
It makes no difference [whether (or not) he comes].  (extraposed)

The logical subject is "extraposed", pulled out of its basic position and moved to the end of the sentence. Since the sentence needs a grammatical subject, dummy it appears in its place at the beginning.

Can an if-clause be used as an extraposed subject, too?

*[If he comes] makes no difference.  (basic version)
It makes no difference [if he comes].  (extraposed)

Is the extraposed version okay? It's unclear because the basic version seems to be ungrammatical.


Posted 2014-07-23T13:03:47.187

Reputation: 2 993

It's "natural enough", but note that *whether* is far more common than *if* in such constructions.

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2014-07-23T17:16:21.613

1Since this question asked about a "real subject", it was clear to me that it was about extraposition. With that in mind, I elaborated on the question a little. It should be clear now that this isn't a duplicate―the other question is not about extraposition. – snailplane – 2014-07-24T16:23:45.037



Yes, that sentence sounds natural. It's a little more common to use "whether" in place of "if" in a sentence like this one--where two options are being presented ('he comes' or 'he doesn't come').

It makes no difference whether he comes or not.


Posted 2014-07-23T13:03:47.187

Reputation: 2 052