To Mike, tdol.

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Taka

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My English-Japanese says that there is a difference between how Americans and British interpret this sentence:

Give my child this toy in case he cries.

(AE)=Give my child this toy if he cries.
(BE)=Give my child this toy to prevent him from crying.

Is this really true?
 

MikeNewYork

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Taka said:
My English-Japanese says that there is a difference between how Americans and British interpret this sentence:

Give my child this toy in case he cries.

(AE)=Give my child this toy if he cries.
(BE)=Give my child this toy to prevent him from crying.

Is this really true?

The AE meaning is correct. I don't know about the BE.

in case

Also, just in case. If it should happen that. For example, In case he doesn't show up, we have a backup speaker. The variant also is used without a following clause to mean simply “as a precaution,” as in I took an umbrella just in case. [c. 1400]
in case of; in the event of. If there should happen to be. For example, Here is a number to call in case of an emergency, or In the event of a power failure, we'll have to shift our plans. Similarly, in that case means “if that should happen,” as in You're alone in the store? In that case I'll bring your lunch. The first usage dates from the early 1700s, the second (with event) from about 1600, and the third from the mid-1800s. Also see in any case; in no case; in the case of.


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The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


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Taka

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OK. Thanks, Mike.

Now, it's British turn, tdol.
 

Tdol

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I'd say the allegedly American meaning is how I would understand the sentence, but the second meaning is possible, but far from the default reading for me.;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
I'd say the allegedly American meaning is how I would understand the sentence, but the second meaning is possible, but far from the default reading for me.;-)

Then, it's not really a typical British way of interpreting the sentence, as my dictionary says?
 
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tdol said:
I'd say the allegedly American meaning is how I would understand the sentence, but the second meaning is possible, but far from the default reading for me.;-)

Although it can be interpreted that way, in case is not necessarily the same as if.

Give my child this toy (now) in case he cries (because he might cry later).

Give my child this toy if he cries. (Wait until he cries; then give it to him.)

I don't want to leave home this afternoon in case Mom calls.

I don't want to leave home this afternoon because Mom might call.
 

Taka

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Taka said:
tdol said:
I'd say the allegedly American meaning is how I would understand the sentence, but the second meaning is possible, but far from the default reading for me.;-)

Then, it's not really a typical British way of interpreting the sentence, as my dictionary says?

tdol?
 

Tdol

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It's possible; it does make sense.;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
It's possible; it does make sense.;-)

You mean it's a typical Biritish way of understanding the sentence, even though you said it's far from the default reading for you???
 

Tdol

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I'm going to do a straw poll of others and see which would be their default reading, then I'll let you know.;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
I'm going to do a straw poll of others and see which would be their default reading, then I'll let you know.;-)

OK. Thank you, tdol. And I am looking forward to the result.
 

Tdol

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My mother would follow the BE pattern. ;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
My mother would follow the BE pattern. ;-)

:lol:

By the way, what do you mean by "a class thing"? Is it a social class or something?
 

Taka

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Taka said:
tdol said:
My mother would follow the BE pattern. ;-)

:lol:

By the way, what do you mean by "a class thing"? Is it a social class or something?

tdol?
 

Tdol

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I was wondering that before I spoke to my mum. She's a tradityionalist and I was wondering whether I had been brought up to follow a certain line on something (like 'if I were'), but she went for your view. However, she did say she didn't like the wording and would go for 'Have this toy in case he cries'. With this version, I can see no other interprtation. Maybe there has been a generational change and I have absorbed the American usage.


.... Next stop a teacher of about my age. ;-)
 

Tdol

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Actually, I have just tried a brother and he agreed with the BE version. Maybe I've spent too long in the company of the likes of Mike. ;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
Actually, I have just tried a brother and he agreed with the BE version. Maybe I've spent too long in the company of the likes of Mike. ;-)

Hmm...interesting.

So, what you mean by "a class thing" is some sort of difference between generations or the different situations where you are?
 

Tdol

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There are language choices that are predominantly made by a social class. For example, somepeople think that the word 'toilet' is a working class term. We are still a class conscious society in Britain, though less so.;-)
 

Taka

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tdol said:
There are language choices that are predominantly made by a social class. For example, somepeople think that the word 'toilet' is a working class term. We are still a class conscious society in Britain, though less so.;-)

Ah! So my first interpretation was right.

Thank you, tdol!
 
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