When versus If
When and If are both used while talking about the future. The difference between the two is very basic and very simple to understand. Let us see the difference between When versus If.
‘When’ is used to show that something is certainly going to happen.
- I will see you when I get free from work. (here, when implies that the person will definitely get free from work)
‘If’ is used to show something may or may not happen. If shows uncertainty.
- I will see you if I get off work. (here, If implies that the person may or may not get off work)
‘When’ and ‘If’ can also be used interchangeably when the outcome is predictable and repetitive.
- When I am in Delhi, I stay with my friend.
- If I am in Delhi, I stay with my friend.
Both these sentences effectively mean the same thing. In such conditions both these words can be used interchangeably.