The word "case" may refer to a few different things.

A case might be a thing that is used to carry or hold other things:

  • I went to the store and bought a case of beer.
  • Restaurants buy wine by the case.
  • Golf balls are expensive, but if you buy them by the case, the cost per ball drops considerably.
  • Workers at a grocery store unpack fresh fruit and vegetables that arrive in a case.
  • Rachel carries her guitar around in a guitar case.

This word is found in compound nouns:

  • A bookcase holds books.
  • You use a staircase to move between floors of a building or a house.
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt are found in the dairy case at a grocery store.
  • A gun case hold guns
  • Charles carries a briefcase to work. (briefcase = a rectangular box used for carrying important paper and documents.)

art case Artists carry their paint, brushes, and other supplies in a case.

A case might also be a situation:

  • The detectives are dealing with a difficult case that involves a person’s homicide. (murder)
  • Scientists are studying an unusual case of influenza that is affecting people in southeast Asia.
  • Tony has a case of the flu.
  • Martha is conducting a case study on diabetes in children. (case study = research)
  • A lawyer might spend half a year or more preparing for a legal case.

The word "case" is used for letters:

  • all of these words are in a lower case.
  • The beginning of a sentence or question uses an upper case letter.
  • Proper nouns use an upper case.

If the word "case" is used as a verb, it means that a person is looking for something or preparing to do something.

  • Thieves cased the jewelry store for several days before robbing it. (case = to prepare for a theft)
  • Police are casing the neighborhood looking for clues to a murder.

Combine the preposition "in" with "case" to form "in case." We use "in case" to describe preparations for possible activity:

  • People carry umbrellas in case it rains.
  • There’s a spare tire in my car in case I get a flat.
  • In case of an emergency, it’s good to carry around a cell phone.
  • Tim secretly hides money in his shoe–just in case.

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July 27, 2015