Unless vs. If

Unless and if are used to introduce conditions but they are not interchangeable. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

"Unless" vs. "If" in the English grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between 'unless' and 'if' is that 'unless' is more negative while 'if' is positive.


'Unless' is used in conditional sentences. These sentences set out conditions. When use 'unless,' we show that something will or will not happen except if another action occurs. Note that we do not use 'unless' for impossible conditions.

He won't come unless his parents give him permission.

I will be there on time unless something goes wrong.


'If' is used to introduce conditions. It is used in if. It shows that X happens and as a result Y will happen. In other words, Y happens because of X.

I would help if you promise to behave.

He should have been here if he cared.

Are They Interchangeable?

No. They are not interchangeable; however, we can use them to express the same meaning.

We will go on a picnic if you finish your homework.

We won't go on a picnic unless you finish your homework.


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