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Au cas où + Le Conditionnel = In case

To express (just) in case in French, you use the expression (juste) au cas où.

Look at the following examples:

J'en ai racheté, juste au cas où.
I bought some more, just in case.

Nous avons acheté de la crème solaire, au cas où.
We bought some suntan lotion, just in case.

Au cas où vous vous demanderiez où elle est, elle est allée au marché.
In case you're wondering where she is, she went to the market.

Je te le dis au cas où tu ne serais pas au courant.
I'm telling you in case you weren't aware of it.

 

The delicate point here is the question of the mood following au cas. Indeed, as it expresses an uncertain state or an hypothesis, you could be tempted to use Le Subjonctif. That would be a mistake!

With the expression (juste) au cas où, you can only use Le Conditionnel.

Je te le dis au cas où tu ne le saurais pas.
I'm telling you in case you don't know.

  

Au cas où vous auriez faim, je vous ai fait un sandwich.
In case you get hungry, I made you a sandwich.

  

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous avons acheté de la crème solaire, au cas où.
We bought some suntan lotion, just in case.


Au cas où vous auriez faim, je vous ai fait un sandwich.
In case you get hungry, I made you a sandwich.


J'en ai racheté, juste au cas où.
I bought some more, just in case.


Je te le dis au cas où tu ne serais pas au courant.
I'm telling you in case you weren't aware of it.


Au cas où vous vous demanderiez où elle est, elle est allée au marché.
In case you're wondering where she is, she went to the market.


Je te le dis au cas où tu ne le saurais pas.
I'm telling you in case you don't know.


Micro kwiz: Au cas où + Le Conditionnel = In case
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Q&A

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

16 January 2018

1 reply

When is "jusqu'au cas où used instead of "au cas où"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 January 2018

16/01/18

Bonjour Barbara !

"Jusqu'au cas où" doesn't exist at all, you're probably thinking of "juste au cas où", which is indeed an alternate option :)

Bonne journée !

Jan

Kwiziq community member

7 May 2017

2 replies

The phrase "Anthony is bringing his sunglasses in case it's sunny" can be translated

The phrase "Anthony is bringing his sunglasses in case it's sunny" can be translated "Anthony apporte ses lunettes de soleil au cas où il ferait beau" but is there a way of using il y a du soleil instead or is it impossible because of the au cas où + le conditionnel-rule?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 May 2017

9/05/17

Bonjour Jan !

No, you could also use "il y a du soleil", simply with "avoir" in Le Conditionnel as such:
"Anthony apporte ses lunettes de soleil au cas où il y *aurait* du soleil."

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Tom

Kwiziq community member

17 July 2017

17/07/17

Would "il ferait du soleil" also be acceptable? I was marked "nearly correct for this.

Mel

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2017

1 reply

What is wrong with "just au cas où" at the end of a sentence? Mine was marked partially incorrect.

Mel

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2017

16/02/17

I meant "juste au cas où".

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 September 2016

1 reply

David asked: "Why does "au cas où" take the conditional rather than the subjunctive?"

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 September 2016

12/09/16

Bonjour David !


Unfortunately, I have to admit I have no explanation for you :(


I must even admit that as a native speaker, I actually used to make that mistake regularly before looking into it for the site... 
All I can say is that Le Conditionnel is also a mode that expresses hypotheses and theoretical cases, hence it's logical that it'd be used in such a context.


I hope that's helpful! 

Pauline

Kwiziq community member

28 August 2016

2 replies

Were or Are?

"Au cas où vous vous demanderiez où elle est, elle est allée au marché." Sorry if this sounds a silly question, but does the above translate... in case you are wondering or were wondering?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

30/08/16

Bonjour Pauline,

Literally, it's "you would be wondering," which we'd never say in English. Both "you were wondering" and "you are wondering" are acceptable.

Pauline

Kwiziq community member

31 August 2016

31/08/16

Thanks Laura!
Let me take a look at that...