Unit 38. In case
Study this example situation:
Here are some more examples of in case: John might call tonight. I don’t want to go out in case he calls. (= because it is possible that he will call)
I’ll draw a map for you in case you can’t find our house. (= because it is possible that you won’t be able to find it)
I don’t want to go out tonight in case Sue calls, (not “in case she will call”)
Do not use will after in case. Use a present tense when you are talking about the future:
C. We’ll buy some more food if Tom comes. (= Perhaps Tom will come; if he comes, we’ll buy some more food; if he doesn’t come, we won’t buy any more food.)
In case is not the same as if. Compare these sentences:
We’ll buy some more food in case Tom comes. (= Perhaps Tom will come; we’ll buy some more food now, whether he comes or not; then we’ll already have the food if he comes.)
This letter is for Ann. Can you give it to her if you see her?
This letter is for Ann. Can you take it with you in case you see her?
D. We bought some more food in case Tom came. (= because it was possible that Tom would come)
You can use in case to say why someone did something in the past:
I drew a map for her in case she couldn’t find our house.
We rang the bell again in case they hadn’t heard it the first time.
E. In case of fire, please leave the building as quickly as possible.
“In case of… ” is different from in case. In case of fire means “if there is a fire”:
In case of emergency telephone this number. (= if there is an emergency)