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I have this sentence I'm struggling with, it's from the "subordinate clauses" subject: You should never sleep on a mattress that is too hard. It can give you back pain.

I have to use "in case" inside the sentence, but I don't know if my tries are correct:

Try 1: In case you sleep on a mattress that is too hard, it can give you back pain.

Try 2: You should never sleep on a mattress that is too hard in case it gives you back pain.

My mother language is Spanish, but I get along with English pretty well.

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  • Neither of these sentences is using in case idiomatically. Take your umbrella in case it rains. in case introduces a clause that expresses something which could happen, a real possibility, but not an actuality. In case they ask you to sleep on the floor, be aware, sleeping on a floor can make you sore.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:26
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo I found the same problem there, it doesn't really sound right because I know the consequence, but although it's not right, is there any sentence that could be less-wrong? The exercise is from the book Life by National Geographic Learning Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:38
  • I think they're going for something like this: You should never eat an unidentified mushroom in case it is poisonous. To my ear, that's still marginal. Let's not eat that mushroom in case it's poisonous. would be idiomatic.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:39
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo - Actually, I find #2 reasonably idiomatic. It certainly fits "a real possibility, but not an actuality".
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:42
  • @stangdon: By "reasonably idiomatic" do you mean "less than perfectly idiomatic"?
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:43

1 Answer 1

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You should not jump out of an airplane without a parachute, in case you plummet to your death. not idiomatic

You should not jump out of an airplane without a parachute, lest you plummet to your death. idiomatic

You should not jump out of an airplane without a parachute, because you would plummet to your death. idiomatic

Take a parachute in case you have to jump out of the airplane. The airplane looks as though a mechanic has not touched it in 50 years. idiomatic

Take a tire repair kit with you in case you get a flat on your bike trip.

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  • So the least wrong solution would be to use an imperative sentence to be able to insert in case? Don't sleep on a mattress that is too hard in case it gives you back pain Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 18:48
  • "least unidiomatic", OK. in case is used with specific potential situations or outcomes, not generalizations. Never play with a snake in case it's poisonous. sounds really odd to my ear. Let's steer clear of that snake, in case it's poisonous. sounds fine. The main clause also has an affirmative-spin. Always steer clear of snakes in case they're poisonous. OK.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 19:05
  • Don't walk out on the ice in case it's too thin! is something many a native speaker could easily say. But it's marginal to my ear, because of the negative polarity. Stay off the ice in case it's too thin! sounds much better.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 19:19
  • The first example can easily be made "more correct" by rephrasing as Wear a parachute when flying, in case it falls from the air. But the meaning has drifted: your final snake example is idiomatic even though it seems rather “ungrammatical” to me. Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 23:16
  • @Will Crawford: What does it refer to in your parachute senence?
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:02

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