This isn’t how other languages work. What’s going on? The reason is in the grammar of the if statement. The stuff that follows the if has to be a command.
There can’t be a space between the variable name and the value. Why? Because whenever Bash sees a space it thinks that the text preceding is the start of a command, and tries to run it
I had trouble learning Bash. I found that I could never remember how to write simple things like an if statement.