Check if or check that? Or: Have you tried turning if off and on again?

How often do we read or write that we should check something? Example: "Check if the computer is connected to power." Clear message, no misunderstanding. But what if it says: "Check that the computer is connected to power."

What's the difference? Is there one? Yes, and it's not insignificant.

Check if versus check that

When I ask "Check if the computer is connected to power", I want to know if the computer is connected to a power source. Probably because it does not turn on. (And yes, I am also thinking of Chris' standard question now.)

When I write "Check that the computer is connected to power", then this could be part of a step-by-step guide explaning how to get a computer up and running for the first time. (Make sure the computer is plugged into the power supply before turning it on.)

"Check that" means "make sure that". When I write "check if", I may not be quite certain about what causes the problem.

By the way: Instead of "check if" you can also write "check whether". But it's more formal, longer, and it's difficult to type. I sometimes accidentally type "check weather", and then I have a problem if the spellchecker doesn't recognize the error.

 

Add comment


Blog

A Shoe is a Shoe is a Shoe. But a Knot is not Always a Knot.

I'm clumsy and not just a bit. Ask my colleagues, they will confirm it. So it is not surprising that since my childhood I have not been able to tie my shoes properly. more ...

Running in Escheburg

Three parson runners participated in a community running contest in Escheburg, near Hamburg. more ...

We have moved offices

Finally! We have moved into a new and spacious office building. The old one had become so small that we almost stepped on each other's toes. Plus, it sometimes became so noisy that our ears were ringing after work. more ...

tekom spring conference in Vienna

Ulrike Parson and Uta Lange share their impressions about the tekom spring conference in Vienna. more ...

How does Digitization Influence the Work of Technical Communicators?

Digitalization changes products, production processes, and the behavior of users. This results in new demands on the work of technical communicators. more ...
  • linkedin
  • xing