“In case”

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Welcome to your “In case” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Using “In case”
“In case” or “If”
• “In case” in the past
“In case” or “In case of”
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Using “In case”

Have a look at this pair of sentences:

“You should wear a seatbelt because it is possible that you will have an accident.”

“You should wear a seatbelt in case you have an accident.”

“In case” means = “because it is possible”

Here are a few more example sentences:

“I’ll charge my phone in case Samantha texts.”

“You should bring an umbrella in case it rains.”

“I’ll phone them in case they’ve forgotten about the party.”

We use “just in case” for a smaller possibility:

“I don’t think I’ll miss the bus, but I’ll take taxi money just in case.”

Do not use “will” after “in case”. Use a present tense for the future:

“I’ll lock the door in case we’re late tonight.”

(not “in case we’ll be late tonight.”)

“In case” or “If”

“In case” is not the same as “if”. We use “in case” to say that we’ll be prepared if something happens. Compare the two expressions:

“in case” “if”

“We’ll buy some beer in case our friends come around.”

(Perhaps they’ll come, if they do we’ll already have beer)

“We’ll buy some beer if our friends come around.”

(Perhaps they’ll come, if they come we’ll buy beer. If they don’t, we won’t.)

“I’ll give you my email address in case you need to contact me.”

“I’ll give you my email address if you need to contact me.”

“I’ll unplug the computer in case there’s a storm tonight.”

“I’ll unplug the computer if there’s a storm tonight.”

“In case” in the past

You can use “in case” + past to say why something happened.

“I bought some beer in case my friends visited.”

“I phoned her in case she forgot about the party.”

“In case” or “In case of”

“In case of” means “in case there is”. These are mostly found on signs or warnings.

“In case of fire, do not use the lift.”

“In case of an emergency, call 999.”


Useful Links

Conditionals: “When” & “If”
1st & 2nd Conditional
“If I + past” / “I wish I + past”

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