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do not verb in case you verb (the present simple)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wolfbm1, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello.

    I am doing an exercise on the topic of health and I've come across this sentence:
    "He has an infectious disease, so do not go close to him in case you become ill too."
    Source: 'get your message across' by Grzegorz Szpila, published by EGIS.

    I was supposed to fill in the gap in "He has ................., so do not ... "

    But I have difficulty in translating the whole sentence.

    I can understand the sentence: "do not use the elevator in case there is a fire."

    Or
    "He has an infectious disease, so do not go close to him because it is possible you could become ill too."

    What do you think?
     
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    Maybe you are supposed to find a synonymous verb? If so I would suggest "do not approach".
     
  3. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I'm sorry.
    I should have written the whole sentence:
    I was supposed to fill in the gap in "He has ................., so do not go close to him in case you become ill too."

    I wanted to say that the true purpose of the exercise is to fill in the above gap with a proper expression related to illnesses and their symptoms.

    What I am concerned about is the part: "
    do not go close to him in case you become ill too."
     
  4. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    The sentence is fine with 'in case you ...'. Is that all you needed to know? Do you need an attempt at a definition of 'in case' as used in this context?
     
  5. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    I am totally confused about your task here. In your OP you say this:
    Then you have added this:
    So it seems the answer is already given to you :confused:
     
  6. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you. I think that 'in case you become ill' means "it is possible you will become ill." But how can one be sure that this will be the case?

    I can understand "you might become ill". I have difficulty in understanding "you will become ill" in that context.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  7. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Sorry about that. I just wanted to explain what the purpose of the exercise was. It has nothing to do with my difficulty in understanding the part of the sentence which contains the expression "in case".
     
  8. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    So,did you make decide on infectious disease yourself as you answer for this gap? Or are you seeking the names of infectious diseases?
     
  9. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    It is hard to explain now. No. I am not concerned about the infectious disease part at all. I am concerned about the use of "in case".
     
  10. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    Using our own dictionary I find

    in case

    (as conjunction) in order to allow for the possibility that: take your coat in case it rains

    In your example is it to avoid a possibility since the whole thing starts off with a negative (do not go close to him to avoid the possibility of catching the illness)
     
  11. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    Roughly speaking, that's what it means. But that doesn't mean that you can interchange them wholesale with a resultant well formed sentence of English.


    I think that something for you to understand here is that 'in case', in the above example (and others like it), precedes a negative or undesirable outcome.

    In this way, I think it's a lot like 'lest', or 'for fear that'.

    Don't do X in case you get Y.
    Don't do X lest you get Y.
    Don't do X for fear that you get Y.

    Keep your distance in case you become ill.
    Keep your distance lest you become ill.
    Keep your distance for fear that you become ill. .......................................................................................................................................................... (Cross-posted)
     
  12. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    That is the reason I was confused. The negation in 'do not go close' transfers to the 'in case you become ill' clause.
    To translate the 'in case' clause into Polish I would have to use a negative form of 'become ill' and a different conjunction.
    In fact, it would be similar to 'so that you won't become ill'.

    (Alternatively, I could translate the 'in case' clause without a negation, but then I would have to use the conjunction 'because' and say: because you may become ill'.)

    So the 'in case' clause answers the questions What for? and For what purpose? and not When?:
    "He has an infectious disease, so do not go close to him in case when you become ill too."

    I hope I've made myself clear this time.
     
  13. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    And you know it is negative because of the negation in 'do not go close'.
    There is a sentence:
    Do not judge, lest you become judged yourself.

    We could also say:
    Do not judge, in case you become judged yourself.
    OR
    Do not judge, for fear you become judged yourself.
     
  14. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    > And you know it is negative because of the negation in 'do not go close'.
    The undesirable outcome, that I'd had in mind, was the getting ill.

    >We could also say:
    If you're asking, then I think you could.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  15. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    I should add that in post#11, I'd very much been thinking of the use of 'in case' used in the context of cautionary advice being issued. As you might imagine that's not the full story as regards using 'in case' ... but it was somewhere to start. :)

    I can think of a few positive scenarios couched in terms of 'in case', however, in those examples, 'in case' no longer means 'for fear that' but means 'in the event that'. I was beginning to doubt the advice that I'd given in post#11, but I've just checked the first fifty examples on the BNC, and they all preceded a negative outcome, which actually surprised me a little.

    BNC = British National Corpus
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  16. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    re post 12

    If your problem now is mainly an issue of translation, then I guess you have to do what translators always do and translate the meaning, not the word for word structure. It seems that our underlying structure does not match what you are used to in your native language.

    I am now considering how to paraphrase the original to retain the meaning but avoid our handy "in case" device ...

    This is the original:
    He has an infectious disease, so do not go close to him to avoid the possibility of catching the illness
    He has an infectious disease, so keep away from him to avoid becoming ill yourself

    It seems like what I need to do is add a verb (to avoid) and it can be teamed with a negative imperative (do not go close) or a positive one (keep away).

    --------------
    The more I look at this original the more I can see why it bothers you! That might be just the effect you often get when looking too closely at any language feature, or it might be that this is not a very common use of the IN CASE thing. The outcome (being ill) is maybe too far in the future to follow on from IN CASE!
    :confused:

    Thinking of when I use in case myself I think of thing like:
    "I'll take my brolly in case it rains."
    "I bought firelighters in case the sticks are wet"
    "We need another plan in case the speaker is delayed"

    I might need to follow Beryl and look at the BNC myself to test my sense of how we use in case.



     
  17. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you, Suzi Br, for your interesting insight and paraphrase.
    Anyway, the clause 'in case you become ill' tells us that it is, as Beryl said, an undesirable outcome. Therefore, the situation should be avoided.

    You said: "In your example is it to avoid a possibility since the whole thing starts off with a negative (do not go close to him to avoid the possibility of catching the illness)." And 'keep away' has the same negative effect as 'do not go close'.

    So, a double negation is not the true issue here, because one can say, e.g.: Do not try this in case you don't know what to do.
    (And in Polish we very often use double negations.)
    I think I was looking too closely.
    Those sentences are much easier to understand.
     
  18. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    So, 'in case' can be used in the context of cautionary advice.

    That is why I got confused. But, now, I understand that there is also the 'cautionary' meaning.
    I'm going to check the BNC for more examples. :)
     

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