As long as/Unless..

jexrry_nam

Senior Member
Cantonese
Hello everyone..

As I know, "As long as" is a conjunction as well as "Unless",
and they both have similar usages. For instance;
<I'm not apologizing to her as long as/unless she apologizes to me first.>
They both seem as if they can perfectly fit in this example,thus,I wonder if there's any difference between them.
Could anyone help me?
Thanks..
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I understand your sentence with "unless".
    But with "as long as", I can't make sense of it unless (!) I make the second clause negative.
    • "I'm not apologizing to her as long as she doesn't apologize to me first."
    For me, "as long as" means something like "if", or "based on the condition that..."
    • "Okay, I'll apologize to her, as long as you promise that she will apologize to me first."
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well there's a difference straight off the bat:

    I'm not apologizing to her as long as she apologizes to me first. :cross: (if it has a sense, it's a highly exotic one)

    I'm not apologizing to her unless she apologizes to me first. :tick:

    I can't think of an example where they could be interchangeable; thankfully it's not my job to provide the examples. (Cross-posted)
     

    jexrry_nam

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thanks Cenzontle,

    But my teacher told that unless can also mean "if" and so can "as long as",so I'm unsure about it.
    • "I'm not apologizing to her as long as she doesn't apologize to me first."

    In this example,is it really necessary to add doesn't?I don't know,I thought it should be like a comparative clause that one positive clause combine with one negative clause like;
    <I won't be there unless she'll come>

    Thanks again!!
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    "I'm not apologizing to her as long as she doesn't apologize to me first."
    This says "during the time that she doesn't apologize, I won't apologize either."

    Without the doesn't, it would say the opposite: "If she apologizes, I won't apologize."
     
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