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C15. Planning aheadillustration

in case / if

Jack and Simon were planning to go on a trip around Asia. Jack showed Simon the pile of equipment he was intending to take with him.
   ‘Why are you taking all this stuff with you?’ asked Simon. ‘You can’t possibly need all of these things. It’s far too much to carry.’
   ‘Well,’ Jack replied,  ‘the bottle of water is in case we get thirsty.’
   ‘Yes, I can see we might need that,’ agreed Simon, ‘and all this food is in case you’re hungry, I guess.’
   ‘Yes, I always feel starving when I’m on the road. And I’m taking a book with me in case I get bored and I need something to read on long journeys,’ carried on Jack.
   ‘OK, Jack, well, I suppose that’s not a bad idea. But there’s still too much stuff here!’
   ‘And I’m taking my camera with me,’ continued Jack, ‘in case we see anything interesting and then I can take some good shots.’
   ‘Yes, yes, I can understand why you need all of those things, but why are you taking this car door?’
‘Well, that’s in case it’s hot – then I can roll the window down.’

Grammar: in case / if

To explain why you do something, to be safe or to be careful you can use in case.
I’ll take an umbrella in case it rains.
You should always check through your emails in case you’ve made a mistake.

In case is not used in the same way as if. Compare these two sentences:
1. I’ll buy a bottle of water in case I get thirsty.
2. I’ll buy a bottle of water if I get thirsty.

In the first sentence with in case, I will buy the bottle of water before I get thirsty, because I want to make sure that I have it if I need it. Even if I don’t get thirsty, I will have the water as a security measure.

In the second sentence with if, I will buy a bottle of water when I get thirsty. If I don’t need the water, I won’t buy it.

What are these people talking about? Match the sentences with the subjects.

  1. I’m going to get this in case I have an accident when I’m on holiday. A. a torch
  2. It’s a good idea to have one in case you get lost. B. glasses
  3. I think you should put them in your bag in case you get cold fingers. C. some gloves
  4. I need to buy one of these in case there aren’t any street lights. D. a map
  5. I’m going to take them in case my contact lenses get uncomfortable. E. insurance

Complete these sentences with if or in case.

6.   I think you should take a phone with you if / in case you have any problems.
7.   The lights will go out if / in case you press this switch here.
8.   I learnt every past participle if / in case they are going to be in next week’s exam.
9.   I don’t think it’s going to rain, but I brought an umbrella with me just if / in case.
10. If / In case you see Dave, tell him to call me.
11.  I won’t take any water with me because I can buy on the way it if / in case I need it.
12. I don’t want to go out if / in case my girlfriend calls me.

Vocabulary practice

Replace the expression in bold with another word without changing the meaning of the sentence.

1.   Please carry on with what you were doing before. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
2.   The workmen put a large pile of stuff down on the floor.
3.   I intend to travel around the world when I leave college.
4.   That’s not a bad idea, I suppose.
5.   I’m hungry. Let’s stop off at the supermarket and pick up something to eat.
6.   When I’m on the road, I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places.

Choose the correct preposition to complete the sentences.

7.   Can you roll the window off / down / over to let some air in, please?
8.   Sam likes photography and he’s taken some really good shots of the scenery at / to / around here.
9.   It’s a good idea to plan ahead / about / along to make sure that nothing goes wrong on the trip.
10. We’re planning to go with / on / to a trip to the north of the country next week.
11. By / At / On long journeys I read through guide books to find out about where I’m going.
12. Do you really need to take all this stuff with / for / on you in your handbag?