Why is there no "if" or "whether" in that construction? Is that sentence correct? How common is it?

  • 5
    Off hand I'd say you can't drop if or whether, but you can certainly drop that, and I'll check that we have this medicine in stock makes perfect sense.
    – user339660
    May 1, 2019 at 10:49
  • It's not "correct", in the English teacher sense.
    – Hot Licks
    May 1, 2019 at 11:55
  • 3
    Very common not to say 'if' or 'whether'. Also very common to say "I'll check to/and see if...."
    – Dan
    May 1, 2019 at 13:00
  • 1
    You can't drop if or whether full stop - the tense doesn't make any difference as far as I can see. If you take a sentence like I didn't know she was going, it can only mean I didn't know that she was going - even if you come up with a backstory which calls for I didn't know whether/if she was going. The original sentence does not involve dropping whether/if.
    – user339660
    May 1, 2019 at 21:40
  • 1
    You don't need to have "if" or "whether" because you are eliding the sentence "I'll check that we do have this medicine in stock."
    – BoldBen
    May 31, 2019 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


No, it isn't strictly correct for formal/written english, but its a reasonably common contraction in general use.

Including if would be far more common, and whether too, but the latter is a little more formal - more likely to be written than spoken.

  • Given that ellipsis is both common and permissible even in formal written English, on what basis can you say it's not "strictly correct"? NB It's not a "contraction" either (excuse the pun: it's is a contraction). Contractions involve elision, which is quite different from ellipsis. May 3, 2019 at 0:48
  • @Chappo dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/contraction - a short form of a word or combination of words that is often used instead of the full form in spoken English Since the OP appears to be non-native, I was trying to avoid such technical terms as elision, or confusing terms like ellipsis
    – MikeB
    May 3, 2019 at 13:12

As mentioned in the comments, this construction is a shorter version of "I'll check that we have this medicine in stock". The words "if" or "whether" cannot regularly be dropped in this kind of context, but the word "that" can be.

"I'll check we have this medicine in stock" doesn't sound great to me, but I wouldn't say that involves contraction or elision of either "if" or "whether".

Collins provides the following example for the use of "check" with a that-clause:

He checked that he had his room key.

  • +1 for “It doesn’t sound great to me”- it sounds horrible to me. I’d certainly never say it.
    – Jim
    Jun 1, 2019 at 2:27

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