LINGUIST List 2.497

Fri 13 Sep 1991

Disc: Just in case

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  1. , just in case
  2. Stephen P Spackman, Just in case
  3. , "in case of" is not "just in case"

Message 1: just in case

Date: Sun, 8 Sep 91 18:32:55 CDT
From: <>
Subject: just in case
It seems to me that "just in case" is a mathematical abbreviation for
"just in the case." In ordinary English, "just in the case" works
pretty much like "if and only if," especially if one understands cases
as being more than specific instances. For example, I might state
that odd(x) is true just in the case that x = 2n+1, for some natural
number n.
The dropping of the "the" seems to be part of a general pattern in
mathematical and scientific English. For example, one might annotate
the calculation of the momentum of a given object as follows (note the
missing "the"s):
	Mass of object = 5 kg
	Velocity of object = 5m/s
	Momentum of object = 25m kg/s
Munindar Singh
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Message 2: Just in case

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 91 06:41:39 -0500
From: Stephen P Spackman <>
Subject: Just in case
I thought it worth mentioning a respect in which classical logicians
and mathematicians are perhaps operating in a slightly different
semantic field from the most of us.
Having performed a case analysis, it's entirely comfortable to say
"just in case 3" [just = only] to mean "iff classification(situation)
= 3"; but supposing an analyis binary, it fits more or less the same
pattern to say "just in case p" (as opposed to, "in case not-p", and
playing on the proposition/characteristic set duality). It's then a
small distance from "in case p" to "in case <def'n of p>".
That is to say, there are two constructions, "just in [case x]" and
"just [in case] x", and the first is often an available analysis IF
you are in the habit of blurring the distinction between "p" and "p is
true" and reifying everything to hell :-).
In the general case, however, I still personally translate: "in [the]
case [that] ...". Then again, I'm no more really a mathematician than
I am really a linguist.
stephen p spackman Center for Information and Language Studies
systems analyst University of Chicago
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Message 3: "in case of" is not "just in case"

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 91 09:27:38 CDT
Subject: "in case of" is not "just in case"
Lachlan Mackenzie in Amsterdam cites "In case of an adverse reaction"
as an error of a Dutch writer in English, but I would contend --
on the basis of my native American-English (and let's talk about
linguists' use and non-use of hyphens next!) --
that "in case of" is a whole different animal from "just in case".
Fire-fighting equipment in (U.S.) public buildings used to be stored
behind a pane of glass labeled "In case of fire, break glass" --
a far cry from "Just in case there's a fire, make duplicate copies and
store them elsewhere."
Lee Hartman, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, ga5123siucvmb.bitnet
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