In case you were wondering how to correctly use in case and incase, this blog post will help sort out your questions. We’ll also share a bonus definition and description of encase.
Many writers get these words confused and use incase and in case interchangeably. It can be tricky to remember when it’s correct to use one versus the other. Although they sound the same, they mean different things.
In case means “in the event of or if something is true.” Sometimes in case gets written as one word: incase. Incase isn’t a real word; it’s a misspelling of the phrase in case. Encase, which means “to enclose or cover something completely,” is also sometimes spelled incorrectly as incase.
You use in case when you’re describing a precautionary action, and you use encase when you’re describing something or someone being surrounded by or covered in something else. For example:
Bring an extra charger in case our flight is delayed.
Let’s encase the jewelry in a nice box.
When to use in case
In case is a phrase of the noun case. It means “to use as a provision against something being true or an event happening.” Someone will usually write or say in case when someone is taking precautions about something in the future. You can use in case for circumstances regarding if and when an event occurs.
However, you should not use in case in place of if. If is used when we talk about things we will do later, in the event something happens. In case is used when we talk about things done right now to prepare for something that might happen in the future. For example:
I will go to the movies with my friends if I have time.
I brought extra money in case I go to the movies later.
Examples of in case
- The grocery store was sold out of bread and water. Everyone must have bought in bulk in case the snowstorm gets bad.
- In case I’m not home in time to let the dogs out, I hired a dog walker.
- She told me to write down her phone number in case I have any questions.
- Always keep an umbrella in your car in case of rain.
- In case they forget their book, I brought an extra copy.
When to use encase
The verb encase means “to enclose or cover in a case or close-fitting surround.” The prefix en– means within or in. When you encase something, you cover it completely or put it inside something else, especially for protection. If you imagine a briefcase, the briefcase encloses the items inside. If you imagine an envelope, it envelops the letter inside, covering it entirely.
Whereas in case is used when talking about precautionary actions taken for a future event, encase is used to describe the act of covering or concealing an object or a person.
Examples of encase
- To be more sustainable for birthdays, we encase gifts in old newspapers and ribbons.
- A chrysalis is encased in its caterpillar body before becoming a butterfly.
- To keep the nuclear waste from leaking into the soil, they had to encase the container in concrete.
- Bananas are encased in their own natural, protective covering, so you don’t need a container to store them.
- Before moving, we encased the mattress in a plastic seal so it wouldn’t get dirty.
In case or incase FAQs
What does in case mean?
In case means “if something is true, then” or is used to describe a provision taken against something happening or being true.
Should you ever use incase?
Incase is not a word, so it’s never correct. It’s a misspelling of the words in case or encase.
When should you use in case?
You use in case when saying or writing that you will or want to take an action in the event of something happening or something being true. For example: “Spelling can be tricky; in case you forget the difference between in case and encase, you can always refer back to this guide.”
What does encase mean?
Encase means “to cover something in a case or surround it in a close-fitting material.”