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Which function suites more appropriately for the construction as long as? Is that expression used to, forgive the redundancy, express a necessary (not sufficient) condition? Or it is a material equivalence (bi-conditional)? Or it could mean any of the two concepts depending on the context it's used?

I think my last supposition is the correct. Based on these two examples:

As long as I've got my boots on, I might as well go out and get the firewood [taken from Merriam-Webster]

I will cooperate as long as I am notified on time. [taken from YourDictionary]

in the first case, the use of might suggests it's a necessary condition; while in the second case, the use of will cooperate suggest it is an if and only if.

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    There's more than one meaning of "as long as", so one single precise definition is impossible.
    – gotube
    Jul 4, 2023 at 6:43
  • I suspect your first example is US usage. Perhaps somebody from UK can comment, but I have rarely or never heard this usage in Australia. We would normally say "As" or "Seeing as".
    – Peter
    Jul 4, 2023 at 8:12

1 Answer 1

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"As long as" can mean:

  • During the time that (or 'while')
  • Since (or 'because')
  • On the condition that

In your first example, 'as long as' means 'since':

Since I've got my boots on, I might as well go out and get the firewood.

It means that, as your already have your boots on, perhaps because you already did some other outdoor chore, you might as well do the other task now rather than remove the boots only to put them on again later. The word 'while' can also be used to convey this meaning.

In your second example, it is introducing a condition:

I will cooperate on the condition that I am notified on time.

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  • @Sam In the original context, the speaker knows they have their boots on. "Provided that" means "if", so the speaker doesn't know if they have their boots on. So it cannot be written the way you suggest
    – gotube
    Jul 4, 2023 at 6:45
  • Seems to me that the first use has an element of "while"/"during the time" - although it's not a clear separation of meanings.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 4, 2023 at 15:01

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