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  1. Banned
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    #1

    Alternatives to "if not"

    (Suppose I am a bad guy.) If I say to someone "Give it to me, or else/or/otherwise/if not I'll hit you." I would sound threatening.
    If I say "It's about to rain. If you don't go out with an umbrella, you'll get wet." Here I use "if not". what's the alternative word I can use without sounding like I threaten someone? (I don't have to threaten anyone when it's about to rain.)

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by realEnglish View Post
    (Suppose I am a bad guy.) If I say to someone "Give it to me, or else/or/otherwise/if not I'll hit you." I would sound threatening.
    If I say "It's about to rain. If you don't go out with an umbrella, you'll get wet." Here I use "if not". what's the alternative word I can use without sounding like I'm threatening someone?
    Telling someone to use their umbrella doesn't seem threatening to me.
    Last edited by Tarheel; 30-Sep-2020 at 21:43. Reason: Delete "not"
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  3. Banned
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    #3

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Could those words/terms be interchangeable in this case?

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by realEnglish View Post
    Could those words/terms be interchangeable in this case?
    Which words?

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by realEnglish View Post
    Could those words/terms be interchangeable in this case?
    I'm guessing you mean or else, or, otherwise, and if not.

    No, I don't think they are interchangeable. For example, or else is used like this:

    Give me that, or else!

    The threat is usually implied. However, or is used differently. Perhaps:

    Give me that or I'll hit you!

    Notice the difference?

    (I don't think either otherwise or if not are used in such situations.
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  6. Banned
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    #6

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    I'm guessing you mean or else, or, otherwise, and if not.
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    No, I don't think they are interchangeable. For example, or else is used like this:

    Give me that, or else!

    The threat is usually implied. However, or is used differently. Perhaps:

    Give me that or I'll hit you!

    Notice the difference?

    (I don't think either otherwise or if not are used in such situations.
    I think I have learned how to use "or else" and "or", and not to use "otherwise" or "if not" to express threat.
    Last edited by realEnglish; 01-Oct-2020 at 09:14. Reason: Italicized some words and enclosed them in quotation marks

  7. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Rather than sounding threatening, this is simply being precocious and helpful to the other party. This is generally seemed as a kind act

  8. Moderator
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    #8

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by fortheboss View Post
    Rather than sounding threatening, this is simply being precocious and helpful to the other party. This is generally seemed seen as a kind act.
    Please don't use a smiley to replace a standard punctuation mark.

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    #9

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by fortheboss View Post
    Rather than sounding threatening, this is simply being precocious and helpful to the other party. This is generally seen as a kind act
    I am puzzled about why you used "precocious" there.

    Welcome to the forum!
    :
    Last edited by Tarheel; 01-Oct-2020 at 23:54. Reason: Edit quote box
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  10. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Alternatives to "if not"

    Quote Originally Posted by fortheboss View Post
    Rather than sounding threatening, this is simply being precocious and helpful to the other party. This is generally seemed as a kind act
    Welcome, Boss!

    Do you mean that saying "or else" is precocious, helpful, and kind? I haven't heard it used that way. (The answer to "Or else what?" is usually unpleasant.)

    Do you have any examples?
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 01-Oct-2020 at 21:41.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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