unless

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UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ʌnˈlɛs/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/ʌnˈlɛs/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(un les, ən-)


WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
unless
You usually use unless to say that something can only happen or be true in particular circumstances. For example, instead of saying ‘I will go to France only if the firm pays my expenses’, you can say ‘I will not go to France unless the firm pays my expenses’. When you are talking about the future, you use the present simple after unless.
We cannot understand disease unless we understand the person who has the disease.
When you are talking about a situation in the past, you use the past simple after unless.
She wouldn't go with him unless I came too.
Be careful
Don't use a future form after unless. Don't say, for example, ‘I will not go to France unless the firm will pay my expenses’.
You also use unless to mention the only circumstances in which something will not happen or be true. For example, instead of saying ‘If we are not told to stop, we will carry on selling the furniture’, you can say ‘We will carry on selling the furniture unless we are told to stop’.
The mail will go by air unless it is quicker by other means.
We might as well stop unless you've got something else you want to talk about.
Be careful
Don't use ‘unless’ to say that something would happen or be true if particular circumstances did not exist. For example, if you have a cold, don't say ‘I would go to the party unless I had this cold’. You say ‘I would go to the party if I didn’t have this cold'.
She'd be pretty if she didn't wear so much make-up.
'unless' also found in these entries:
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