I have a friend who uses the term "otherwise else" regularly. She frequently uses words incorrectly and pronounces some things in a dialect all her own, so at first I didn't think much of it. The more she uses it, the more I'm bothered by it. I'm wondering if it has an odd sound because I don't hear it often or if it is incorrect.

  1. I need an answer to this question! Otherwise else I'm going to be confused for eternity!
  2. I need to run this errand after work, otherwise else I won't have time until the weekend.
  3. I need to write in pencil, otherwise else I'll use a whole tube of white out.
  4. You have to seal the cheese completely, otherwise else it will dry out.
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    How about adding a couple of examples?
    – user3169
    Sep 9, 2016 at 1:41
  • 3
    This reads more like a complaint than a question, because I think you know the answer... I think user3169 is asking for examples which your friend uses, not examples you have made up. Sep 9, 2016 at 1:46
  • We will need some complete sentences, at the least, otherwise else we probably can't provide good answers. Seriously, though it is not a construction that I have heard myself or another native speaker ever say; but I haven't heard all the things that native speakers say which some people consider grammatical. I would never use it, except in fun, as in my first sentence. Just choose between the two words: you don't need both. Sep 9, 2016 at 1:56
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    @Whitney Redundancy is not a crime in attempting to communicate. But no native speaker I know says those two words in succession. It's not so much a matter of redundancy but of not being idiomatic. But even native speakers will sometimes grab onto a pet phrase that no one else thinks is grammatical yet they won't give it up. Usually I'll take successful communication over perfect English any day. Sep 9, 2016 at 2:23
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    I suppose for future reference, please provide more details. Specifically, if you have questions about what your friends say, it would be helpful if we knew where they were from and what kind of English they use (eg. American, British, etc). Examples would be helpful too.
    – Em.
    Sep 9, 2016 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


It would be more correct say either: "otherwise" on its own, or "or else", so the following would be better constructed sentences:

I need an answer to this question! Otherwise I'm going to be confused for eternity!

I need an answer to this question! Or else I'm going to be confused for eternity!

Saying "otherwise else" is a tautology and sounds a bit jarring to me, though the meaning is perfectly clear.

  • Why "or else"? Why not just "else"?
    – CinCout
    Dec 11, 2016 at 16:15
  • Might be a UK/US variation but or else I wouldn't be surprised to hear. Grammar pedants might argue that you can't use "or else" if you have an exclamation mark after "question".
    – Matthew
    Dec 12, 2016 at 18:19

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