1

In my English examination there is a sentence :

'You must leave now ..... you will be late for school.

My teacher said that the answer is 'or', but I think the answer is 'unless', and she doesn't explain much. Therefore, I can't understand correctly. Would you mind explaining specifically for me.

5
  • 4
    It's 'or'. It talks about the condition. If you want to use the conjunction 'unless', it should be: You will be late for school unless you leave (for it) now.
    – Maulik V
    May 5 '16 at 10:11
  • 2
    @MaulikV - great comment, it illustrates the issue nicely. May 5 '16 at 10:11
  • This condition is special one, isn't it ? May 5 '16 at 10:16
  • No, not a special one! You must run or you'll be caught by the dog....
    – Maulik V
    May 5 '16 at 10:36
  • 1
    Roughly, 'or' would have the reason first and the result second in order. In 'unless', it'll be result first and reason at second place. You must leave now (reason) or you'll be late (result). But - You'll be late (result) unless (reason) you leave now.
    – Maulik V
    May 5 '16 at 10:39
3

The sentence

You must leave now or you will be late for school.

means If you do not leave now, you will be late for school. Changing the order of the clauses gives You will be late for school if you do not leave now. If ... not can often be replaced by unless, so you get

You will be late for school unless you leave now.

In other words, in order to use unless you have to switch the order of the clauses.

Or functions here to introduce a consequence. It might be clearer to you if you think of it as being "or else".

1

Unless you buy a ticket, you cannot enter the movie theater.

You cannot enter the movie theater unless you buy a ticket.

unless introduces a requirement, expressed as a clause with a tensed verb.

You can also express a requirement as a noun-phrase, using without.

Without a ticket, you cannot enter the movie theater.

You cannot enter the movie theater without a ticket.

2
  • It doesn't explain why "or" is correct answer. Which it is.
    – InitK
    May 5 '16 at 14:54
  • It explains why "unless" is the wrong answer. Which it is. Feel free to write your own answer, if you're more interested in setting the OP clear on "or". May 5 '16 at 14:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.