if Statements in PHP

By: Andi, Stig and Derick Emailed: 1787 times Printed: 2624 times    

if statements are the most common conditional constructs, and they exist in most programming languages. The expression in the if statement is referred to as the truth expression. If the truth expression evaluates to true, the statement or statement list following it are executed; otherwise, they’re not.

You can add an else branch to an if statement to execute code only if all the truth expressions in the if statement evaluated to false:

if ($var >= 50) {

print '$var is in range';

} else {

print '$var is invalid';


Notice the braces that delimit the statements following if and else, which make these statements a statement block. In this particular case, you can omit the braces because both blocks contain only one statement in them. It is good practice to write these braces even if they’re not syntactically required. Doing so improves readability, and it’s easier to add more statements to the if block later (for example, during debugging).

The elseif construct can be used to conduct a series of conditional checks and only execute the code following the first condition that is met.

For example:

if ($num < 0) {

print '$num is negative';

} elseif ($num == 0) {

print '$num is zero';

} elseif ($num > 0) {

print '$num is positive';


Statement Statement List

if (expr)


elseif (expr)


elseif (expr)





if (expr):

statement list

elseif (expr):

statement list

elseif (expr):

statement list



statement list



The last elseif could be substituted with an else because, if $num is not negative and not zero, it must be positive.

Note: It’s common practice by PHP developers to use C-style else if notation instead of elseif.

Both styles of the if construct behave in the same way. While the statement style is probably more readable and convenient for use inside PHP code blocks, the statement list style extends readability when used to conditionally display HTML blocks. Here’s an alternative way to implement the previous example using HTML blocks instead of print:

<?php if ($num < 0): ?>

<h1>$num is negative</h1>

<?php elseif($num == 0): ?>

<h1>$num is zero</h1>

<?php elseif($num > 0): ?>

<h1>$num is positive</h1>

<?php endif; ?>

As you can see, HTML blocks can be used just like any other statement. Here, only one of the HTML blocks are displayed, depending on the value of $num.

Note: No variable substitution is performed in the HTML blocks. They are always printed as is.


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