Oct 092014

if&incase300x250The next time you’re working on conditionals, why not teach ‘in case’? Maybe it’s my cautious streak, but it seems like such a handy little phrase to know to me.

There are a couple of things about ‘in case’ that students may find tricky. First they need to know how its meaning differs from ‘if’.  And then there’s the issue that we don’t follow it with ‘will’ or ‘would’. But that seems like another good reason to teach it, to me. We rarely use ‘will’ in the ‘if-clause’ in conditionals either, so it gives us another opportunity to practise that.

Hopefully this video will help students get a good handle on ‘in case’. As always, it’s available at the www.simpleenglishvideos.com website with a clickable transcript. Enjoy!

Quick update!

Just in case it comes in handy – here are some questions you can ask…

Tick all the correct endings in the sentences below.

  1. Take an umbrella in case …
  • it should rain.
  • it will rain.
  • it would rain.
  • it starts raining.
  1. Take your phone, just in case …
  • she will call.
  • she needs to call you.
  • she calls.
  • she would call.
  1. I wrote the number down in case …
  • we would forget it.
  • we would forgot it.
  • we forgot it.
  • we should forgot it.
  1. Bring your driving licence, just in case …
  • you need some ID.
  • you should need some ID.
  • someone asks to see your ID.
  • someone would ask to see your ID.
  1. I reserved the room till 5pm in case …
  • the meeting went on longer than expected.
  • the meeting goes on longer than expected.
  • the meeting would go on longer than expected
  • the meeting will go on longer than expected.
 Posted by at 6:11 pm

  2 Responses to “If and In case”

  1. Hmm. For #1, I like “should rain” and “starts raining”; for #2, “she needs” and “she calls”; for #3, “we forgot” only; for #4, any of the first three answers. #5 is trickier, because “went on” and “goes on” are both good but have different contexts of use: “went on” implicates that the meeting is finished, “goes on” that it is still in progress. Picky people might insist on changing “reserved” to “had reserved” to go with “went on”, I suppose, but “I reserved … went on” is just fine for me.

    In the jargon of mathematicians and philosophers, “just in case” means the same as “if and only if”, as in “A geometrical figure is a triangle just in case it has three sides.” This can take some getting used to.

  2. Oh great to see you and thanks very much for this, John. The mathematical and philosphical explanations can be very handy for teachers.

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