If / In case

Conditioned vs. Precautionary Action

Earthquake

 

 

 

   

Conditioned vs. Precautionary Action

CONDITION ACTION

Do this action after  X happens or might happen  — this is an emergency action.

ADVICE CONDITION

Use the batteries and bottled water

if there is an earthquake.

Use the fire extinguisher

if there is a kitchen fire.

Use the first-aid kit  

if you cut yourself.

PRECAUTIONARY ACTION

Do this action before X happens or might happen  — this is an emergency preparation (precaution).

PRECAUTION CONDITION

Keep some extra batteries and bottled water on hand

 in case there is an earthquake.

Buy a fire extinguisher

in the event (that) there is a kitchen fire.

Have a first-aid kit on hand

should you cut yourself.

 

on hand (adj.) – something that can be used or can be easily found

precaution (n.) – something you do in order to prevent something dangerous or unpleasant from happening

precautionary (adj.) – adjective form of the above word

prepare (v.) – do something in advance in order to be ready  

independent clause– main clause, matrix clause;  subord cls – dependent clause – subordinate clause

See If - Statements   

 

 

 

 

 

If / In Case

Tense Agreement

 

 

 

Tense Agreement

PRESENT PRECAUTION — URGENT SITUATION

Use present, present progressive or future tense in the precaution clause.  Use present tense for the urgent-situation clause.

PRECAUTION –  PRESENT CONDITION – PRESENT

We store emergencies supplies

in the event an accident occurs.

Men keep a canary with them in a coal mine

in case the air turns bad.   (present habit)

I will carry an umbrella in my car trunk

 in case it rains.     (Do not use future.)

PAST PRECAUTION— URGENT SITUATION

Use past tense for habitual precautions in the past, especially with used to or would.  Use past tense in the clause with the urgent situation.

PRECAUTION –  PAST CONDITION – PAST

We would keep emergencies supplies

in the event an accident occurred (past habit)

Men kept a canary with them in a coal mine

in case the air turned bad.   (past habit)

I used to carry an umbrella in my car trunk

 in case it rained.     (past habit)

 

independent clause– main clause, matrix clause;  subord cls – dependent clause – subordinate clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

If / In Case

Clause Order and Punctuation

mobile phone

 

 

 

Clause Order – commas

INITIAL POSITION

use a commaUse a comma when placing the conjunction and its clause at the beginning of the sentence.

PRECAUTION CONDITION

In the event (that) you need to reach me,

carry your cell phone.

In case you need to reach me,

carry your cell phone.

Should you need to reach me,

carry your cell phone.

MID-POSITON

use no commaUse no comma when the conjunction is between the two clauses.

CONDITION PRECAUTION

Carry your cell phone

in the event you need me.

Carry your cell phone

in case you need me.

Carry your cell phone

should you need me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*Call me in case you need help.   (Call me now as a precaution for needing help later – not logical)

 

*Let's hide in case he comes in.

*He has left his car keys with the neighbor in case someone needs to move his car. 

SOLUTION

Call me if you need help.  (Call me at the moment when you need help, not before.)

I'll keep my phone turned on in case you call and need help.  (I'll turn it on as a precaution.)

Let's hide if he comes in. (Hide at the moment when he comes in, not before.) 
  

He left his car keys with the neighbor in case someone needs to move his car.

(Present perfect is used to focus on time: duration or recency.  There is no need to focus on time.  This is a simple series of events.  Use past tense.) 

 

*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.

Pop-Q – "In case"

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Planning Ahead

road trip
 

 

Complete the sentence with a precautionary action.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback with the "check" or "check 1-10" button.

 

1.
We might get lost while driving on our road trip.  
    

2.
We might get lost while driving on our road trip. 

3.
A flat tire might occur. 

4.
A flat tire might occur.

5.
We might get hungry.
 

6.
  

7.
We might need to recharge our cell phones.
 

8.
We might need to recharge our cell phones.

9.
  We might have to sleep in the car.
 

10.
We might have to sleep in the car. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Precautions and alternate plans

Overworked
 

 

Complete the sentence with connector that is logical.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback with the "check" or "check 11-15" button.
11.
 he need me.

12.
 

13.

14.

15.

 

alternate(adj.) – other plans, a "Plan B" used if "Plan A" fails

See If - Statements  for more examples of conditional statements.