‘Incase' or 'In Case': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 8, 2022

Should you spell it ‘incase’ or ‘in case’? What’s the difference between the two, you might be wondering? We’ll explain that in this article, plus teach you the definition and meaning, as well as how to use it correctly in a sentence.

Well, the short answer is that ‘in case’ is the only correct way to spell the word. ‘Incase’ isn’t a real word and should be avoided in your writing.

‘Incase’ or ‘In Case’ – One Word or Two? 

As you just learned, the phrase ‘in case’ should be spelled as two separate words. Bunching them together wouldn't be proper grammar.

‘Incase’ or ‘In Case’ – What’s the Difference?  

So, what’s the difference between ‘incase’ and ‘in case’? Well, one is a word, and the other isn’t. We’ve already discussed that you need the space to make the phrase grammatical. It’s two separate words, not one word.

It might seem confusing since some words in the English language are accepted as one word or two.

Set up’ is just one example. It works as both one word and two, and they both mean two different things.

Definition and Meaning of ‘In’

Let’s take a look at the definition of both words and then the definition of the phrase as a whole.

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘in’ is: “used as a function word to indicate inclusion, location, or position within limits,” “into,” “used as a function word to indicate means, medium, or instrumentality,” “used as a function word to indicate limitation, qualification, or circumstance,” “into,” “used as a function word to indicate purpose,” and “used as a function word to indicate the larger member of a ratio.”

It can also be defined as: “to or toward the inside, especially of a house or other building,” “to or toward some destination or a particular place,” “at close quarters: near,” “so as to incorporate,” “within a particular place,” “in the position of a participant, insider, or officeholder > often used with on,” “on good terms,” “in a specified location,” “in production, “in vogue season,” “in one’s presence, possession, or control,” and “from a condition of indistinguishability to one of clarity.”

In its adjective form, it means: “that is located inside or within,” “that is in position, operation, or power,” “inside,” “extremely fashionable,” “keenly aware of and responsive to what is new and fashionable.”

It can also mean: “influence, pull,” “a neutral chemical compound,” “enzyme,” “antibiotic,” and “organized public protest by means of or in favor of: demonstration.”

Phrases Containing the Word ‘In’

  • In For (certain to experience)
  • In case (as a precaution)
  • In any case (without regard to or in spite of other considerations: whatever else is done or is the case)
  • In case of (in the event of)

A few synonyms of the word include:

  • By
  • Via
  • Per
  • With
  • Through

Definition and Meaning of ‘Case’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘case’ is: “a set of circumstances or conditions,” “a situation requiring investigation or action (as by the police),” “condition,” “an inflectional form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective indicating its grammatical relation to other words,” “such a relation whether indicated by inflection or not,” “what actually exists or happens: fact,” “a suit or action in law or equity,” “the evidence supporting a conclusion or judgment,” and “argument.”

It can also mean: “an instance of disease or injury,” “patient,” “an instance that directs attention to a situation or exhibits it in action: example,” “a peculiar person: character,” and “oneself considered as an object or harassment or criticism.”

The noun version of the word can be defined as: “a box or receptacle for holding something,” “a box together with its contents,” “set,” “pair,” “an outer covering or housing,” “a tube into which the components of a round of ammunition are loaded,” “a divided tray for holding printing type,” and “the frame of a door or window: casing.”

The verb definition is: “to enclose in or cover with or as if with a case: encase,” “to line (something, such as a well) with supporting material (such as a metal pipe),” and “to inspect or study, especially with intent to rob.”

Synonyms of this word include:

  • Encasement
  • Husk
  • Casing
  • Covering
  • Pod
  • Hull
  • Capsule
  • Patient
  • Jacket
  • Sheath
  • Cocoon
  • Shell

Meaning of the Phrase ‘In Case’

We’ve seen what the words mean separately. So, what does the entire phrase mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, it means: “as a precaution against the event that” and “if.”

How to Use ‘In Case’ in a Sentence

Now that you know the definition and meaning of the words, let’s look at how to use them in a sentence correctly.

Take a look at a few examples:

  • I’m bringing my adapter just in case they don’t have any for sale in Ghana.
  • In case I don’t make it back, tell Michael I love him.
  • Let’s just get the travel insurance just in case, since we’ll be traveling for a few months.
  • I have a first aid kit in my trunk, just in case we need it.
  • Choose a backup color, just in case your original choice isn’t available.
  • My husband is a survivalist who preps for the apocalypse, just in case it actually happens one day.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘In Case’

To recap, we’ve learned that ‘in case’ is the only correct way to spell this phrase. Any other spelling would be ungrammatical and incorrect. Therefore, you should only spell it with the space.

If you ever get stuck on which is the correct spelling, you can always revisit this page.

We’ve got a ton of other content you might want to check out. We’ve created a whole library of articles that talk about common confusing words and phrases in the English language you might come across.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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