# Thread: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

1. ## "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

[not a teacher]

This topic was discussed (hotly) back in 2009 in this forum. However the discussion terminated in two gentlemen (mostly contributing to that particular thread) agreeing to disagree. This falls far short of my expectations of what this forum is for.

I see eye to eye with Svartnik who explained that

'Take an umbrella in case it rains" means roughly the same as "Take an umbrella whatever the weather is at the time of your departure, against the possibility that it may rain later on'

and

'Take an umbrella in case of rain" means roughly the same as "Take an umbrella only if it actually rains at the time of your departure'

In other words

'in case something happens' means 'against the possibility of something happening' (precaution)

'in case of something' means 'if something happens' (condition)

Is this view on things correct?

2. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
[not a teacher]

This topic was discussed (hotly) back in 2009 in this forum. However the discussion terminated in two gentlemen (mostly contributing to that particular thread) agreeing to disagree. This falls far short of my expectations of what this forum is for.

I see eye to eye with Svartnik who explained that

'Take an umbrella in case it rains" means roughly the same as "Take an umbrella whatever the weather is at the time of your departure, against the possibility that it may rain later on' Yes.

and

'Take an umbrella in case of rain" means roughly the same as "Take an umbrella only if it actually rains at the time of your departure' No, not necessarily.

In other words

'in case something happens' means 'against the possibility of something happening' (precaution)

'in case of something' means 'if something happens' (condition)

Is this view on things correct? No.
Bhai.

3. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

'Take an umbrella in case it rains" means roughly the same as "Take an umbrella whatever the weather is at the time of your departure, against the possibility that it may rain later on'
Yes, that is what it means.

4. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
This falls far short of my expectations of what this forum is for.
There are many questions in for which there are no absolute answers. It is better to agree to differ than to waste a lot of time trying to prove the unprovable.

This is a general point, not aboui 'in case (of)' in particular.

5. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
agreeing to disagree. This falls far short of my expectations of what this forum is for.
Then most likely we're going to have to agree to disagree. Trying to get two people to agree on anything is like herding cats.

6. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

Also, "in case of rain" could mean "in case the weather report calls for rain", which then would be precaution, not condition.

And for the record, I think the conditional sense in this context to be slightly nonsensical. Rain is mercurial*; suggesting an umbrella is presupposing the person does not know the weather forecast, not that they can’t tell it’s raining right now.

*Can weather be “mercurial”?

7. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

Originally Posted by 5jj
There are many questions in for which there are no absolute answers. It is better to agree to differ than to waste a lot of time trying to prove the unprovable.

This is a general point, not aboui 'in case (of)' in particular.

Thanks, but in this case my persistence paid off. Now I have learned the error of my ways whereas the study of the past thread of the same title left me in the dark.

8. ## Re: "If" vs "in case (of)" - reopening of a past thread

[QUOTE=BobSmith;840233]Also, "in case of rain" could mean "in case the weather report calls for rain", which then would be precaution, not condition.

This wins me over completely.

I promise myself to stick to the good old unambiguous 'if' in cases when I want something done once a given condition is actually met. Then perhaps 'herding cats' will be that little bit less hopeless...

Then again, the fire fighting instructions had better use 'if there is a fire' in place of 'in case of fire' to prevent people from stashing hotel fire fighting equipment under their beds just against the possibility of an inferno...

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