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Discussion in 'English Only' started by cheshire, May 15, 2007.

  1. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Is this sentence wrong? If so, what's the reason?
    Does the sentence mean, "you should look words up in the dictionary in preparation for such a possibility: I'm sure you'll make spelling mistakes.
     
  2. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    You should have a dictionary to hand in case you don't know how to spell something.
    You should look up words in the dictionary to prevent yourself from making spelling mistakes.
     
  3. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    I think I get it from your suggested sentences.

    (2)...in case you'll make spelling mistakes.

    Is this (2) OK?
     
  4. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    Not really. Compare:
    "I wear a life jacket in case I drown":cross:
    "I wear a life jacket in case the boat sinks":tick: (to prevent me form drowning)
    If you drown it's too late for a life jacket, similarly if you make a spelling mistake it's too late for the dictionary.
    "I carry a rubber/a bottle of tippex in case I make a spelling mistake"
    "I carry a dictionary in case I need to look up a word."
     
  5. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Hi. liliput, thanks for giving me excellent examples!

    I noticed that your mother tongue is British English.

    One of my dictionaries (Taishukan's Genius English-Japanese Dictionary, Second Edition) states in its usage guide that there's a difference in usage between BrEn and AmEn.

    Do you think this dictionary is wrong in its usage guide? (I'm used to finding mistakes even in dictionaries written by non-native speakers of a language)
     
  6. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    I would not use either sentence, I don't think "Give my child this toy in case he cries." is quite the same as my answer, and it doesn't make much sense to me.
    I would say:
    "Take this toy with you in case he cries."
    "Give it to him if he starts crying."
    or
    "Give him this toy, it will stop him crying."
     
  7. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks for your opinion. But could you or anybody tell me what is wrong with Taishukan dictionary's sentence?
     
  8. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    I can't see anything wrong with it, it just doesn't mean "Give my child this toy if he cries"; it means "Give my child this toy on the off chance that he might cry."
     
  9. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (3) "Give my child this toy if he cries";
    (4) "Give my child this toy on the off chance that he might cry."
    What's the difference? Is the (4) more unlikely to happen in the future?
     
  10. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    (3) Indicates that you should give the toy to the child when he starts crying.
    (4) Indicates that you should give the toy to the child before he starts crying, to prevent him from starting.

    On second thoughts, I would probably use "in case" for sentence (4) but not for (3).
     
  11. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    S1 V1+in case S2 V2

    I interpreted #2 and #4 of liliput that S2 V2 is a hypothetical event that might take place prior to S1 V1.

    In that very sense your position is the same as the dictionary's fisrt example.

    In the second example ("British English" in the following example by the dictionary), "giving my child his toy" is a preemptive measure in order not to make the baby cry. In other words, It's the oppisite of the first example.

    Please make your input on this problem.
     
  12. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    You and cycloneviv are quite opposite on this.:eek:
     
  13. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    According to my understanding we are in agreement:
    We both say that "Give him this toy in case he cries" is a preventative measure.
     
  14. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia

    Exactly.

    "in case he cries" = "on the off-chance that he might cry"
     
  15. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi,

    I will confirm that to my AE ears, "in case he cries" = "if he cries", and that neither is a preventative. They are both considering the situation after he begins to cry. Although it is not spelled out, I would expect the baby to stop crying after receiving the toy.
     
  16. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Nigel D Turton ABC of Common Grammaticla Errors writes:

    In other words, wouldn't Americans say either (1) or (2)?
    What is "a precaution" opposed to by the author?
     
  17. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi,

    If it is currently raining when I plan to go out then, I take an umbrella because it is raining.

    If it may rain, then I take an umbrella in case it rains. [This is the same as, I take an umbrella because it might rain.] I'm taking the umbrella as a precaution so that I can stay dry even if it rains.

    Similarly, in sentence two, the book will be used if it turns out I can't sleep. If I can sleep, then the book will not be used.

    I would use both sentences. I would not require the word "just" in sentence 1.
     
  18. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks!
    Then why would the author (Nigel D Turton) specifically write "In British English"?

    I don't know if he's British or American, but does he not know if it's also American usage?
     
  19. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    I don't know what Nigel was thnking. I will say that these examples are different from the examples in your other thread.

    After receiving the instruction, "Give the baby this toy in case it cries."
    I would only give the baby the toy after it began to cry. I don't know why this is different than the above for me. I'm guessing that is what Nigel is getting at, but his examples are terrible.

    It is also possible that I'm just special. :D
     
  20. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    That's what several of my dictionaries say as "American usage." The "so as not to" type of usage is what they say as "British English."
    What I find here a problem is, are these usages exclusive to each other?

    I don't understand this explanation. Why can't we use "in case" in these examples?
     
  21. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    According to British Usage, isn't this sentence OK?
     
  22. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Hi. Is there a reason for the "starts" in "Give it to him if he stars crying." instead of saying "Give it to him if he cries."? Is the latter unnatural or wrong?
    Thank you very much:)
     
  23. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    I think after "On second thoughts" your explanation cotradicts with the previous one: You seem to have said to the effect that "in case" is a non-precaution; later you seem to say that it is a precaution. I'm confused!
    Could you or anyone please explain?
     
  24. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    I got it! You say this because your mother tongue is similar to British English...right?
    You have only the usage of "precaution."
    I guess you're Ok with this sentence: you should look words up in the dictionary in case you make spelling mistakes.:tick:

    That's my guessing...:)
     
  25. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    There may be regions in the US where " you should look words up in the dictionary in case you make spelling mistakes." would be used, but I found it strange. Before reading all the other contributions, I thought it
    was either BE or some other non-AE variant. I guessed it was trying to suggest using a dictionary to avoid spelling errors.

    Then came this:

    My reaction was to suggest a new dictionary.

    1. The definition called American English is unlike the American English I know.
    2. The sentence, "Give my child this toy in case he cries." is not a sentence structure AE would normally use to suggest either "if he cries" or "to prevent him crying".
    3. Should you force me to use the sentence and explain what it means, I would protest, turn a nasty shade of purple, bellow, yelp, choke, sputter and cough. I would, under duress, suggest that it means something like
    "give the child the toy to prevent the possible onset of crying". Then I would suggest you get a new dictionary.
     
  26. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    Ontario
    English (Canada)
    I can't speak for British usage, but in North American usage, this sentence would sound rather odd.

    Instead of:

    You should look words up in the dictionary in case you make spelling mistakes.

    I would say:

    You should have a dictionary (handy/on hand) in case you make spelling mistakes.

    The sentence is implying that in the event that you make a smelling error - should you find yourself in that situation - you will have a dictionary available to help you. You can't be in the situation of looking up words when you make a spelling mistake.
     
  27. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Yes, I think your position is what several dictionaries (all written by Japanese) says as "American English."
     
  28. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I disagree with the author.

    I would use sentence (1) both with and without "just". To me it would be a precaution: Have an umbrella to
    use should it begin to rain. I would be more likely to add "just" if the prospects for rain are small.

    I would also use (2). I don't know if I will have trouble sleeping, but if I can't sleep, I'll always have a book available.
     
  29. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks for giving me an answer (however hypothetical it may be).
    That is what several of my dictionaries (all written by Japanese) calls "American usage." (= precaution)

    Is "precaution" usage and the other usage exclusive to each other?
     
  30. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks!
    I'm disappointed, as I can't no longer trust any dictionaries written by non-native speakers, plus, some books written by native speakers.
     
  31. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Quote:
    "If" and "(just) in case" are often interchangeable in American English but NOT in British English....
    When we are talking about something that will happen as a result of something else [as opposed to "a precaution"], we use "if". 'If it rains on Saturday, I shall bring an umbrella.' (NOT "In case...") 'If you come by train, I'll meet you at the station.' (NOT "In case...)
    I don't understand this explanation. Why can't we use "in case" in these examples?

    Not so fast, Cheshire. I'm a BE speaker and think the author has this right for BE practice.

    If it rains on Saturday, I shall bring an umbrella

    means, in BE

    On Saturday should I find that it's raining I shall bring an umbrella.


    In case it rains on Saturday, I shall bring an umbrella

    means, in BE

    I shall bring an umbrella now, lest it turns out that it rains on Saturday. (i.e. as a precaution against its raining on Saturday)



    I'll meet you if you come by train

    means

    Should you decide to come by train I'll be there at the station to meet you.

    I'll meet you in case you come by train

    is pretty well meaningless in BE. I can't see what I'll meet you lest you come by train could mean. Perhaps I'm short of imagination this morning.
     
  32. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    The reason I wrote "on second thoughts" was precisely because I had changed my mind.

    It seems to me that the Americans use "in case" to mean "in the event that" and the British use it in the sense of "should the event occur".

    "Give the baby the toy in case he cries" in AE means give him the toy when he starts crying.
    In BE it means give it to him because if he doesn't have it he might cry.
     
  33. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    It's very nice of you to help me!
    I'm one notch higher thanks to you!:)
     
  34. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks for helping me so many times!

    Usage (1) if some unusual thing happens
    Usage (2) a precaution (prevent a thing from happening)

    Are these two usages exclusive to each other?
    Is (1) only in AmEn, while (2) only BrEn?
     
  35. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think part of the confusion is due to the choice of topic.
    In BE, "Give the baby a toy in case he cries," really doesn't make sense at all. You give the baby a toy now in the hope that it will help to prevent him from crying.

    A more typical, and simpler, BE "in case" sentence would be:
    "Take an umbrella in case it rains."
    The umbrella will not prevent the rain.
    Right now, you don't need the umbrella.
    It may not rain, but if it does, you will be glad you brought your umbrella.
     
  36. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What did the ABC of Common Grammatical Errors say about American English use of "in case"?

    The quoted statement refers only to BE, and the section quoted gives no indication of the writer's view of AE usage. Had he previously explained the AE usage?
     
  37. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Noooo, I don't think 'if' and 'in case' are the same thing at all. If it rains, I'll bring an umbrella means I'll look out the window and if the street is wet an umbrella will be in my hand. I'll bring an umbrella in case it rains means rain or shine when I leave the house an umbrella will be in my hand as a precaution against the possibility of rain.

    I often use these sentences for my students: If the hotel has a swimming pool, I'll bring a bathing suit.

    And: I'll bring a bathing suit in case the hotel has a swimming pool.

    I tell them that in the first sentence, I will try to ascertain whether the hotel has a swimming pool before I pack my suitcase. In the second, a bathing suit will be in my bag, and I'll find out whether I get to use it when I arrive at the hotel.

    I don't know any AE speaker who uses the term any other way, and I don't know any who would say 'I'll meet you in case you come by train'!

    And, finally, I use 'just' to indicate that I don't think the 'in case' will come to pass. "I'll bring an umbrella in case it rains" and "I'll bring an umbrella just in case it rains" differ only in that in the second sentence I think it's unlikely that it will rain (but I will still have the umbrella in my hand).
     
  38. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Dobes has explained "in case" exactly as I would use it.

    This topic was thoroughly confusing because of the two simultaneous threads.
    It may now be confusing because I have merged the two threads, but at least all of the confusion is in one place.
     
  39. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    So Dobes, an AE speaker, doesn't use the supposed AE definition and A Word Lover, another AE speaker, seems to use both definitions. The Brits all use the BE version.
     
  40. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (1)Place a fire extinguisher in your room in case there is a fire.


    I heard this sentence is OK in British English and it means "Place a fire extinguisher in your room in preparation for a possible event of a fire."

    Do you think this usage is shared by American English, too, without changing its meaning?

    I thought this sentence might be interpreted by AmEn like this:

    (2) Place a fire extinguisher in your room after you find out that there is a fire.
     
  41. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    USA
    American English [AmE]
    No, it's fine. I would say it in AmE meaning the same thing that you said: because perhaps there will be a fire in the future.

    EDIT: If you are ever in a building you will see the Fire extinguisher in glass and it will say "Break in case of fire", so we definitely use that phrase.

    Pablo
     
  42. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    Ontario
    English (Canada)
    I wouldn't think so. It sounds fine to me in CaE.
     
  43. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    I greatly appreciate your help, both of you:)

    (3) You should dial 119 in case there is a fire.​
    What about (3)? Is this sentence strictly American English?
     
  44. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Yes, your sentence is good as well. You could also say:
    You should dial 119 in case of fire.

    Pablo
     
  45. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    Ontario
    English (Canada)
    I wouldn't think so - that sentence sounds too normal to my ears.
     
  46. Judica Senior Member

    East Coast, US
    AE (US), Spanish (LatAm)
    No. It is not strictly AE. The only thing American about the sentence is the national emergency number ... which by the way is "911" in the US.
     
  47. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    Ontario
    English (Canada)
    That's not strictly American either. 911 is the emergency number in Canada as well. ;)
     
  48. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
  49. DadaMia New Member

    USA, English
    If however you are trying to replicate the standard emergency preparation language, you should follow this model:

    "In case of [emergency], [command]"

    Where you can replace the word "emergency" with any emergency, and you replace the word "command" with the instruction you are giving. For example:

    "In case of fire, break glass."

    "In case of emergency,
    dial 911."

    "In case of earthquake, use stairs to exit."
     
  50. Judica Senior Member

    East Coast, US
    AE (US), Spanish (LatAm)
    ...Aren't you on the American Continent too? :D ... notice the last part of my sentence, its distinguishing.
     

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