The word "if" is a conjunction used for conditions and situations that may or may not be true. The word "if" also addresses possibility:
- Do you know if it’s going to snow tonight?
- If they move to Houston, they’ll sell everything they have.
- If your boss gives you a raise, will you work harder?
- Sonia doesn’t know if she wants to get married right now.
- The ticket agent didn’t know if the train would be on time.
- I can’t help you if you don’t study more.
- Hamdi isn’t sure if she’ll be able to immigrate to the United States.
You’ll notice that "if" comes before a clause (a subject and a verb); however, it’s also possible to hear the word used as a noun in expressions like these:
You might also hear the word "iffy" as an adjective. It’s not a word I would choose when a situation is questionable, but you will hear it if you live in the U.S.
- They’re kind of iffy on the colors for their living room.
- Caroline is iffy about living in Florida.
- Jose and Mirna are still iffy about getting married.
- Whether or not we get a lot of snow tonight is still iffy.
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This page was first published on March 3, 2013. It was updated on January 30, 2017.