Do you prefer to say “If Needed”, or “If It Is Needed”?
These expressions are quite common, especially in professional environments, when we have to state a plan of action. But there seems to be a bit of confusion as to which is the correct form, and which to avoid.
“If Needed” indicates that an action will or not be taken depending if it’ll be necessary or not. It’s not certain, but “If Needed” we’ll do what needs to be done. “If It Is Needed” is an extended form of the form. It’s grammatically correct, just not used as much.
Take a look at the examples below:
- Hank said he can work overtime if needed.
- Hank said he can work overtime if it is needed.
The sentences in the examples are the same, except for the fact that one uses “If Needed” and the other uses “If It Is Needed”. The phrases work just as well, indicating that “If Needed” and “If It Is Needed” are synonyms and interchangeable.
“If Needed” is an expression we add to a sentence when we aren’t sure if it’ll be necessary to take action. It indicates that, if the action is necessary, it’ll be taken. “If Needed” states that if push comes to shove, we’re ready and able to do something about it.
Keep in mind that it’s not about the capacity or ability to do something, as it is about the need to take a particular action. Take a look at some examples that will help clarify this idea:
- Aunt Gina said she could stop by our house if needed.
- I can always run to the grocery store and get milk if needed.
- Rob told me that, if needed, he could leave work early this Friday.
- I’ll pick you up if needed, so just let me know.
- If needed, we can postpone our vacation to next summer.
- If needed, we’ll get the development team involved.
“If It Is Needed” is an extended form for the phrase “If Needed”. It’s grammatically correct and means the same. However, this longer form with “It” and “Is” is often unnecessary, and people tend to speak using the condensed form for the sake of simplicity.
Take a look at some examples that use “If It Is Needed”, followed by the same sentence using only “If Needed”:
- Anne can be here in an hour if it is needed.
- Anne can be here in an hour if needed.
- If it is needed, I can bring some refreshments.
- If needed, I can bring some refreshments.
- Don said he can put extra time into the project if it is needed.
- Don said he can put extra time into the project if needed.
The examples show that both “If It Is Needed” and “If Needed” are acceptable, and can work interchangeably. In actuality, we don’t need so many words to convey the message that “If Needed” does just fine.
For that reason, it’s much more common to see “If Needed” being used – to the point that some people think that “Is It Is Needed” is incorrect. We know it isn’t the case, but it causes “If It Is Needed” to be used much less than “If Needed”.
Which one of those forms is used more often, “If Needed” or “If It Is Needed”? Take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
As we expected, “If Needed” is used much more often than “If It Is Needed”. It makes sense that this would be the predominant form because it’s shorter and simpler. This is reason enough to make it more popular than its counterpart.
“If It Is Needed” appears at the bottom of the graph, indicating it’s rarely used.
“If Needed” and “If It Is Needed” are both correct forms to indicate that the subject is ready to act if push comes to shove. “If Needed” is the most common form, because it’s shorter and more objective. “If It Is Needed” is correct, but makes a sentence more complicated.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.