Recently I was asked about the English expression just in case and I thought it would make a good blog post. Today we will look at 3 natural English expressions that use in case.
(Just) In case…
Please look at the following example:
“I don’t think it will rain today but I will take my umbrella with me to the store, just in case.”
Just in case means “IF something happens” you want to be prepared. Even if the chances are small, you still want to be ready. Let’s look at the example sentence again.
“I don’t think it will rain today” = the chances are small that it will rain today.
“but I will take my umbrella with me to the store” = I will be prepared.
“just in case.” = IF something happens. In this example – IF it rains.
Meaning with context
We can imagine that the weather forecast doesn’t expect rain today, but there are a few dark clouds in the sky. It makes us think that there is a small chance it will rain. The meaning of our example sentence is – The chances are small that it will rain today, but if it does rain it will be no problem because I will have an umbrella. – Have you got it? Here are some more examples:
I am having a party tonight. I expect 10 people to come but I have bought extra wine just in case more people arrive.
= I think I will have 10 people at my party but IF more people come I will have enough wine because I bought extra.
We have an important meeting at 7:00 am. I really don’t want to be late so I will leave very early, just in case.
We can end the sentence with just in case because we can easily imagine why it is better to leave early if you don’t want to be late. Traffic jams, train delays, bad weather, etc. can cause problems, but if we leave early we have extra time, we are prepared, and we won’t be late.
In a conversation
A: “Your apartment is always so clean!”
B: “Thanks, I like to be ready for guests at all times. Just in case some friends drop by unexpectedly.”
In case (= if it is true that)
We have more pizza in case you’re still hungry.
If it s true that you are still hungry.
The are no anchovies on the pizza in case you were worried.
If it s true that you were worried.
In that case
In that case = if that situation happens or has happened
Kevin just called, he has to work late tonight and can’t meet us.
In that case, let’s meet on Saturday instead. It’s better if everyone is here.
If that happens (Kevin can’t come) meeting on Saturday is a better idea.
Staff from the head office will be here on Wednesday.
In that case, we need to be clean up the office. Everyone make sure your desks are neat and tidy.
It’s good if our office is clean when that happens (when staff from head comes to our office).
In case of (something)
We often see this on emergency signs.
Break glass in case of fire.
In case of emergency call 911.
From Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
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