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.

  

 

 

Examples and resources

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.


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.


Q&A Forum 18 questions, 32 answers

RichardC1Kwiziq community member

Au cas où

I understand, when I remember, how to use ‘au cas où’. 

However, why can’t you use ‘il me faudrait’ after it, rather than ‘je devrais’. Both are in the conditional tense, and both mean (I think) ‘I must’. 

Anyone know please?

Here’s the relevant question, a translation of ‘in case I have to go out again’,  which was marked as wrong:  au cas où il me faudrait ressortir


Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Grammatically the sentence seems ok to me. It's just that it sounds a bit stilted and you wouldn't say it like this in everyday conversations.

Au cas où

I understand, when I remember, how to use ‘au cas où’. 

However, why can’t you use ‘il me faudrait’ after it, rather than ‘je devrais’. Both are in the conditional tense, and both mean (I think) ‘I must’. 

Anyone know please?

Here’s the relevant question, a translation of ‘in case I have to go out again’,  which was marked as wrong:  au cas où il me faudrait ressortir


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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Au cas où or juste au cas où, when do you insert juste?

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

James, check the discussion below the lesson. I suspect you might find your answer there.

Au cas où or juste au cas où, when do you insert juste?

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Dr MichaelC1Kwiziq community member

Le mot « juste » devant au cas où me semble être une faute.

À ma connaissance, le mot juste est une calque sur français du mot « just » en anglais.  « Just » est un adverbe en anglais, mais je le crois un adjectif en français. Par exemple:  « ce que tu dis est juste » en français, mais on ne dit pas « je suis juste arrivé ».  One dirait « je viens d’arriver » pour éviter le calque erroné , mais je pense que « juste au cas où » est INCORRECT.   

Pourrait-on clarifier ce point de grammaire pour moi?  Merci beaucoup  

Dr Michael Elinski


Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Dr Michael,

"Just" to add to what Chris has  said -

'juste' in this case is an adverb and it 'just' makes 'au cas où' more emphatic.

In the case of 'je viens d'arriver' you could also say -

Je viens juste d'arriver

which would translate -

I have just arrived this very minute

which you could accuse of being a pleonasm but is very much used in French to convey the fact this action has just (this minute )happened.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Juste in French behaves almost exactly like "just" in English. In English it can be either adverb or adjective, too: He is fighting for a just cause. He is just figthing for a cause. The first sentence uses "just" as adjective, wherease the second uses it as an adverb.

La punition est juste. -- The punishment is just (= adjective)
Je prends la parapluie juste au cas où. -- I'm taking the umbrella just in case (=adverb)

Le mot « juste » devant au cas où me semble être une faute.

À ma connaissance, le mot juste est une calque sur français du mot « just » en anglais.  « Just » est un adverbe en anglais, mais je le crois un adjectif en français. Par exemple:  « ce que tu dis est juste » en français, mais on ne dit pas « je suis juste arrivé ».  One dirait « je viens d’arriver » pour éviter le calque erroné , mais je pense que « juste au cas où » est INCORRECT.   

Pourrait-on clarifier ce point de grammaire pour moi?  Merci beaucoup  

Dr Michael Elinski


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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

The inclusion of juste in the tutorial is not specific.

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I don't know what you mean by "not specific".

Juste au cas où -- just in case
Au cas où -- in case

The inclusion of juste in the tutorial is not specific.

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LynnC1Kwiziq community member

Use of conditional with Au cas ou

I understand the use of the conditional but why is it not acceptable to have "arriverait" instead of "serait"?

Asked 3 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Can you post the entire sentence?

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Lynn, 

Without context we can't answer...

Use of conditional with Au cas ou

I understand the use of the conditional but why is it not acceptable to have "arriverait" instead of "serait"?

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DonaldC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je me change au cas où je devrais ressortir.

Bonjour à tous:  Je me demande que j'arrive à utiliser une autre phrase: . Je sais que je dois utiliser la première phrase.  C'est possible d'utiliser la deuxième phrase?

Asked 4 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

What's your second sentence?

Je me change au cas où je devrais ressortir.

Bonjour à tous:  Je me demande que j'arrive à utiliser une autre phrase: . Je sais que je dois utiliser la première phrase.  C'est possible d'utiliser la deuxième phrase?

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JerryC1Kwiziq community member

Au cas où + conditionnel

Then you put 2 examples that do NOT use the conditionnelle.  I am now totally confused.

Then you use juste sometimes and not others with no explanation.

Please explain full.

Asked 4 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There are two ways to use "au cas où", very much like in English:

(1) I told you, just in case. -- Je te l'ai dit, juste au cas où. There is no conditional here.

(2) In case you are late, come see me. -- Au cas où vous seriez en retard, venez me voir. In this case there is a conditional, since au cas où isn't by itself any more.

Au cas où + conditionnel

Then you put 2 examples that do NOT use the conditionnelle.  I am now totally confused.

Then you use juste sometimes and not others with no explanation.

Please explain full.

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why 'J'en ai racheté' not 'J'en ai acheté' in the first example?

Asked 9 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Racheter means "to buy again" or "to buy some more".

Why 'J'en ai racheté' not 'J'en ai acheté' in the first example?

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

No liaison between S and O in the expression 'au cas où

As I understand, a normally silent consonant at the end of a word should be pronounced if the following word starts with a vowel.

 Could you please explain why this does not happen with the S and O in the expression 'au caS Où

Thank you

Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stewart,

This is a case when both are possible.     

As 'au cazou' sounds a bit funny people will say with a smile stressing the liaison between the 's' and the 'o'.

Well spotted!

No liaison between S and O in the expression 'au cas où

As I understand, a normally silent consonant at the end of a word should be pronounced if the following word starts with a vowel.

 Could you please explain why this does not happen with the S and O in the expression 'au caS Où

Thank you

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

.....in case it's sunny

The answer given is '....au cas où il fesait beau'. Couldn't you say as an alternative '....au cas où il y aurait du soleil'?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi John, 

...au cas où il ferait beau or ...au cas où il y aurait du soleil both are ok. 

-- Chris. 

AlmutC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
In my book "il fait beau" means the weather is nice. The sun does not necessarily have to shine for the weather to be nice. Therefore "il fait beau" is not an appropriate translation for "it's sunny".

.....in case it's sunny

The answer given is '....au cas où il fesait beau'. Couldn't you say as an alternative '....au cas où il y aurait du soleil'?

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SusanC1Kwiziq community member

I am confused: the first two sentences use the past tense, one with juste au cas oû, the other au cas oû but your explanation only talks about the

conditional tense and not why these first two sentences are different.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The past tense occurs in the main clause, the conditional is always used in the subordinate clause started by au cas où. 

I'm not sure if that answers your question. 

-- Chris. 

Susan asked:View original

I am confused: the first two sentences use the past tense, one with juste au cas oû, the other au cas oû but your explanation only talks about the

conditional tense and not why these first two sentences are different.

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TinaC1Kwiziq community member

In the explanation you have '(juste) au cas où' but you have marked me wrong for putting the word 'juste' in brackets.

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Tina !

The brackets in the lesson mean that you can use either "juste au cas où" or "au cas où" interchangeably, however when giving an answer, you simply have to pick one of these two options :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

TinaC1Kwiziq community member
Thank you. I knew it meant it was optional but thought I could put that in my answer.

In the explanation you have '(juste) au cas où' but you have marked me wrong for putting the word 'juste' in brackets.

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

juste au cas où and au cas où

Hello, In the examples given juste au cas où and  au cas où both translate as just in case when at the end of a sentence. Is there a way to know when to add juste, or is it entirely optional? Thanks.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I believe it is entirely optional, just like in English

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris. 
MichaelA2Kwiziq community member
Being pedantic, "juste" in this sense is an Anclicism.  Ce n'est pas juste!

juste au cas où and au cas où

Hello, In the examples given juste au cas où and  au cas où both translate as just in case when at the end of a sentence. Is there a way to know when to add juste, or is it entirely optional? Thanks.

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BarbaraA2Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
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 !

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

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JanC1Kwiziq community member

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?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
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 !
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Tom and Karl !

"Faire du soleil" is not the correct expression in French :)

Please have a look at our explanation in the related lesson:

 
Bonne journée !
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Would "il ferait du soleil" also be acceptable? I was marked "nearly correct for this.
KariC1Kwiziq community member

Would "Anthony apporte ses lunettes de soleil au cas où il ferait du soleil." also be acceptable?

Merci!

AlmutC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
In the link you provide there is no mention of how to say it is sunny. Would "le soleil brille" work for you?
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
I am confused. I have seen 'faire du soleil' in numerous text books. It is also condoned by CNTRL and the Académie française.
Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci.  J'ai eu la même question.

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?

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MelC1Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 2 years ago
MelC1Kwiziq community member
I meant "juste au cas où".

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

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AurélieKwiziq team member

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

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

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! 

MichaelA2Kwiziq community member
au cas que takes the subjuctive.  Au cas qu'il fasse beau.

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

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PaulineA1Kwiziq community member

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?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
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.
PaulineA1Kwiziq community member
Thanks Laura!

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?

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Getting that for you now.