Confusing Words

Eb vs Vann

What is the difference between if, before, whether, and when? That’s the key to understanding when to use eb and vann

Eb → before, whether

Use eb for the words before and whether.

Before = eb

PG: Eb di Laura kshtauva is hott see kshvetzt mitt fiah funn iahra kinnah.
EN: Before Laura died, she talked with four of her children.

    ?Remember: Use Eb and before as you go out the door.

Whether = eb

Eb can mean whether (as in, when talking about which of 2 possible options).

PG: Di Donna vill vissa eb du hinkel-flaysh adda fish vitt. 
EN: Donna wants to know whether you want chicken or fish.

?Remember: Eb and whether go together. 🙂

More Examples

  • Vass sett ma du eb ma shteaht en haus bauwa? (as in, before)
  • Es zayld haebna eb du’s gleichsht adda nett. (as in, whether)
  • Yaydah vann muss diseiyda fa sich selvaht eb si fisha vella adda nett.​ (as in, whether)

Vann → when, if

Use vann for the words when and if.

When = vann

Vann is used when you’re wanting to say when something happens.

?Remember: Vann and when are like chicks and hens.

If = vann (as in, if this, then that)

PG: Vann miah greeni paint uf di vand doon, zayld’s goot gukka.
EN: If we put green paint on the wall, it will look good.

?Remember: With if and vann, it won’t take long.

More Examples

  • Vass gebt mitt uns vann miah shtauva? (as in, when)
  • Vann du’s gleichsht, ich kann’s viddah macha. (as in, if)
  • Vann du en mann bisht… (as in, if)
  • Vann du goodi decisions machsht, zaylsht du haebbi sei. (as in, if or when—depending on the context)
  • Vann miah sell doon dann macht’s uns haebbi un si aw. (as in, if or when—depending on the context)
Whether is used in English for which of at least 2 possible things might happen — as in, which one?If is used in English when talking about if something happens, then something else will happen.


Occasionally, vann can also be used as a pronoun (as in one).

PG: Eah is da vann es alles gmacht hott. (as in, one)
EN: He is the one that made everything.

? When used as a pronoun, vann will always have da or di right in front of it — depending on whether the noun that’s being replaced is masculine or feminine.


  • PG: Di Donna is di vann es ‘s broht gmacht hott.
  • EN: Donna is the one that made the bread.
  • PG: Da Andy is da vann es ‘s haus gebaut hott.
  • EN: Andy is the one that built the house.