Questions from my learners 4Posted: January 18, 2016
Ask the wise old owl
1. Why is it wrong to say “during I was on holiday?”
During should be followed by a noun such as “during the night”.
“While” is used when we are talking about a verb:
* While I was away
* While you were watching the film
* While we were sleeping.
You have a verb in your sentence, so the correct choice is “while I was on holiday”.
2. Is there a difference between “if” and “whether”?
Sometimes, particularly in informal speech or writing, “if” and “whether” are used interchangeably. However, there is a difference and sometimes it changes the meaning.
“Let me know whether you are coming on Thursday or Friday”.
Here you have two options – you can come either on Thursday or on Friday.
“Let me know if you are coming on Thursday or Friday”.
Here you have three options. You can come on Thursday, Friday, or you might not come at all.
Therefore, if you want people to choose between 2 specific options, it is better to use “whether”.
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