Ich glaube, dass ob wie das englische if ist und wenn wie das englische whether.

Also ob mit Kondition, whether in allen anderen Fällen. Ist das richtig?


Ich weiß nicht, ob ich Zeit habe. Ruf mich an, ob du Zeit hast

Ich rufe dich an, wenn ich Zeit habe.

  • 3
    There is a good summary here: yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/tag/difference-wenn-ob I find the general rule "use ob for yes/no questions" usually helps, but the blog I posted has some examples where that rule would have made me make a mistake. – David Hall Nov 12 '13 at 10:46
  • Unfortunately people downvoted this question without further explanation. We can only guess why that was so. It may help you edit the question to give us some examples where you struggle with using "ob" vs. "wenn" in translation of "if" or "whether". – Takkat Nov 12 '13 at 12:31
  • @DavidHall This is good, why don't you post it as an answer? – elena Nov 12 '13 at 13:34
  • @Elena - I'd feel like a heel posting someone's blog post as my own answer :) If joe feels like it really helps him and no better answer is given, he can post it. I just come here to improve my German and share things I've learned :) – David Hall Nov 12 '13 at 13:42
  • DavidHall: we dont like a simple copy & paste of copyright protected content without proper attribution. In this case we should ask @Emanuel who made the blog, and is also a user here, to shed some light on that matter ;) – Takkat Nov 12 '13 at 14:07

The blog David Hall mentioned in his comment to the question (this one) covers the ob part very well, but your question differs slightly. So, we should shift the focus a little bit:

If you want to express a conditional like

If it is good wheather tomorrow, I will play football.

you cannot use ob but have to use wenn or falls:

Wenn morgen schönes Wetter ist, werde ich Fußball spielen.

If you want to express an uncertainty/several possibilities like

I don't know, whether I have time.

you should not use wenn/falls but should use ob:

Ich weiß nicht, ob ich Zeit habe.

Remark: You can use wenn/falls in the second case, but you will mean something different, and in this case strange, thing:

Ich weiß nicht, wenn ich Zeit habe. = In case I have time, then I don't know (what to do).

This sentence is grammatically correct and might be suitable depending on context, but out of context it is missing the information, what I don't know.


Ich glaube, dass ob wie das englische if ist und wenn wie das englische whether.

To me it seems rather the other way round.

  • ob - whether
  • wenn / falls - if

Ich weiß nicht, ob ich Zeit habe.
I'm not sure, whether I have the time.

Ich rufe dich an, wenn ich Zeit habe.
I call you, if I have the time.

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