Should we use "whether" or "if" in indirect speech?



  1. My brother asked me if I wanted a pizza or a sandwich.

  2. My brother asked me whether I wanted a pizza or a sandwhich.

Jessy L.

Posted 2016-01-07T16:03:25.487

Reputation: 31


Possible duplicate of "Whether" Vs "If"

– Chenmunka – 2016-01-07T16:14:56.233

@Chenmunka I was reading the duplicate and am curious. Is it ELL's view that the following sentence is acceptable? "I was unsure of if it would rain or snow." compared with "I was unsure of whether it would rain or snow." – None – 2016-01-07T16:47:17.903

1@Rathony To my ear they are both acceptable in colloquial use and unacceptable in formal use. In formal use I'd delete both ofs. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-01-07T17:00:39.363

@StoneyB I think the answer in the duplicate seems to be wrong about it especially when of is replaced with about. I am not sure whether I should leave a comment to the duplicate question. – None – 2016-01-07T17:03:49.343

@Ranthony Your first sentence is incorrect and should be: He was unsure if it would rain or snow (no of). Your second sentence using of whether is correct. – Peter – 2016-01-07T17:11:53.377

@Rathony Neither of those answers is very good. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-01-07T17:19:20.507

@StoneyB In that case I will leave it up to high-rep users and moderators. I didn't closevote this question because I felt the same way. – None – 2016-01-07T17:22:15.377



Both of your sentences talk about the same thing: your brother's query about a choice between pizza or a sandwich.

Both are commonly used.

You may also note that if only one alternative was mentioned, whether will still need a contrast:

My brother asked me if I wanted pizza
My brother asked me whether I wanted pizza or not


Posted 2016-01-07T16:03:25.487

Reputation: 63 575