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A very quick question:

Is it correct to say "In case I won't be able to watch that"?

If it's acceptable to say that, what type of sentence is it?

UPDATE:

As a clarification, I want to say "Can you give me that in case I won't be able to have it later". Probably, it's more a supposition than a conditional.

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I think you mean to say "In that case, I won't be able to watch that". Based on the replacement for "If that happens", that is. –  JeffSahol Sep 26 '11 at 1:09
    
Uhm, not precisely. For example, I want to say "Can you give me that in case I won't be able to have it later". Probably, it's more a supposition than a conditional. –  Robert Smith Sep 26 '11 at 1:15
    
OK, you may want to edit your question with that fuller context. –  JeffSahol Sep 26 '11 at 1:22
    
Of course, thanks. –  Robert Smith Sep 26 '11 at 1:49
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

So you're mostly concerned about the future tense of "In case I won't be able to" as opposed to "In case I can't". My opinion is that the phrase "in case" doesn't require future tense. For instance, you'd say "I'm taking an umbrella in case it rains." - you would never say "I'm taking an umbrella in case it will rain."

This is based on my own usage of the phrase, however I did find some references: here (section on tense agreement) and here ('you can not use the simple future tense after "in case".')

I think your sentence should be "Can you give me that in case I can't have it later?"

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You could say it that way, sure. However, I would say that it's more idiomatic (and possibly better grammar as well, I'm not sure) to say "... in case I'm not able to ...".

I believe that it would qualify as a form of conditional sentence.

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+1. Thanks for your help. Luke Hoffmann described a bit of your answer earlier, but if he doesn't want to put his comment as an answer, I will choose yours. Thanks again!. –  Robert Smith Sep 26 '11 at 2:52
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It is acceptable to say that, but it's not a sentence. "In case" is not equivalent to "If that happens". "In case" is equivalent to "If it happens that" or just "If". (See the idioms section here)

It sounds like you are trying to say "If I can't watch that". This isn't a sentence on it's own, but it is a valid condition to begin a sentence.

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Exactly. It's not sentence on its own. As I said to JeffSahol, it's more of a supposition. "Can you give me that (just) in case I won't be able to have it later" I would have thought "If I can't watch that" sounds more natural but I have seen that kind of construction before. –  Robert Smith Sep 26 '11 at 1:19
    
I didn't properly understand you're question before. You're mostly concerned about the future tense of "In case I won't be able to" as opposed to "In case I can't". My opinion is that the phrase "in case" is a special case that doesn't require future tense. For instance, you'd say "I'm taking an umbrella in case it rains." - you would never say "I'm taking an umbrella in case it will rain." I think your sentence should be "Can you give me that in case I can't have it later" –  Luke Hoffmann Sep 26 '11 at 2:06
    
+1. Thanks a lot. That cleared that up for me. By the way, I can't accept your comment as you didn't place it as an answer. If you want to do that, I will choose it as 'accepted answer'. –  Robert Smith Sep 26 '11 at 2:49
    
Thanks, added a new answer. –  Luke Hoffmann Sep 26 '11 at 6:13
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