or else

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Could I use either "or else" or "otherwise" in this case?
"I walked away as calmly as I could or else/otherwise they thought I was a thief."
Thanks.
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You could substitute "lest" if you don't want to have to rewrite the sentence:

    I walked away as calmly as I could lest they thought I was a thief.

    By the way, Volky: could/would have think thought
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    You could substitute "lest" if you don't want to have to rewrite the sentence:

    I walked away as calmly as I could lest they thought I was a thief.

    By the way, Volky: could/would have think thought
    Good.

    But this would work, informally, with the right puncuation:

    I walked away as calmly as I could; otherwise they would have thought I was a thief."
    They would have thought I was a thief IF I had not walked away as calmly as I could. (I acted as if I was/were innocent.)

    I think this "solution" is more suited to speech or dialogue.

    Thoughts?

    Gaer
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I definitely agree that "lest" is formal, some might even say archaic.

    I was just trying to suggest an alternative that maintained the same sentence structure.

    In casual speech, I might also say, "I walked away as calmly as I could, so (that) they didn't think I was a thief."
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I definitely agree that "lest" is formal, some might even say archaic.
    I don't think it's archaic in narrative. I'm almost positive I've seen it recently. I think it's a good suggestion but definitely a more formal register.
    I was just trying to suggest an alternative that maintained the same sentence structure.
    I understand:
    "I walked away as calmly as I could or else/otherwise they thought I was a thief."
    My solution would demand omitting "or else", no problem, but adding a more complex verb structure:

    "I walked away as calmly as I could, otherwise they would have thought I was a thief."
    In casual speech, I might also say, "I walked away as calmly as I could, so (that) they didn't think I was a thief."
    That's also very good. That may be the best solution, although I think you could also use "wouldn't think". But that might be dependent upon context. :)
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Could I use either "or else" or "otherwise" in this case?
    "I walked away as calmly as I could or else/otherwise they thought I was a thief."
    Thanks.
    Mimi,

    1. "or else" would not be appropriate here because it really means, "alternatively" or "instead":
    • We could go to Paris or else (we could go to) London.
    • Do what I tell you, or else you'll be sorry
    2. You certainly can use "otherwise" as a conjunctive adverb; however, as many of the posts above have suggested, the major problem in your sentence is in the verb tense of the 2nd clause.

    "I walked away as calmly as I could; otherwise they might have thought I was a thief." OR "I walked away as calmly as I could; otherwise they could have thought I was a thief." OR "I walked away as calmly as I could; otherwise they would have thought I was a thief."

    The easiest way to modify the "otherwise" sentences, if you want to keep "I was" in the 2nd clause, is to replace "otherwise" with "so" or "so that" and make the 2nd clause negative:
    "I walked away as calmly as I could; so (that) they didn't think (that) I was a thief."


    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/instead
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi mimi

    I suggest:

    "I walked away as calmly as I could in case they thought I was a thief."

    Loob
     

    Elowen

    Member
    English English
    In casual speech, I might also say, "I walked away as calmly as I could, so (that) they didn't think I was a thief."
    In this case doesn’t missing “that” out change the meaning?

    To me, without “that” it implies - I walked away as calmly as I could, and because of that they didn't think I was a thief.

    Whereas with “that” it implies - I walked away as calmly as I could, in the hope that this would mean they didn't think I was a thief.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    To me, (A) without “that” it implies - (B) I walked away as calmly as I could, and because of that they didn't think I was a thief.

    Whereas (C) with “that” it implies - (D) I walked away as calmly as I could, in the hope that this would mean they didn't think I was a thief.
    I hadn't thought of that; I think taking out "that" could change the meaning, but it doesn't have to. In other words, A can mean either B and D, whereas C can only mean D.

    In A, usually the tone of voice indicates whether B or D is meant.
     
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