Talk:just in case

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Not distinct from "in case"[edit]

As it stands, the entry for "just in case" would serve for "in case," but there ought to be a distinction between them. "Just in case" implies preparation to forestall an unlikely, but potential, problem, doesn't it? And (unlike "just in case") "in case" can be used to suggest what to do after something has occurred, or in a certain situation.

"Please knock loudly, in case we're in back." "Please knock loudly, just in case we're in back." "Please knock loudly, just in case."

"In case nobody answers, please try knocking a little louder."

Also, we wouldn't add "in case" to the end of a sentence and leave it at that; we don't say, "I took an umbrella, in case," but we do say, "I took an umbrella, just in case."

"In case" without "just" seems to require something after it.

I'm not sure of any of this; just speculating. The distinction might be more general, related to the usage of "just."

(I'm a newbie here, and haven't yet read the things mentioned after "if you are new to Wiktionary," but since this entry was featured on the main page, and I felt it was insufficient, I hastened to discuss it.)

Unfree 19:53, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there is a separate entry for in case. In general, yes, different forms of set-phrases and idioms get separate entries - if mainly identical in meaning the longer forms are usually redirects (for idioms only - not for word forms.) The distinction you identify (between just in case and in case) I agree, is not adequately described yet. I'm not sure how I'd word a ===Usage notes=== section for it though. The Tea Room is probably the best place to ask this question. --Connel MacKenzie 20:10, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
The expression just in case can be demonstrated to function as an adverb, because it answers the question "why?":
  • I took an umbrella, just in case.
The expression in case doesn't work this way. It serves either to modify a prepositional phrase to answer "when?" or "under what circumstances?":
  • In case of fire, break glass.
...or serves to introduce an independent clause, much as a conjunction would:
  • We walked quietly down the hall, in case our parents were awake.
So, I would call in case an adverb of "when" (with conjunctive properties), but would call just in case an adverb of purpose. --EncycloPetey 01:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)