In English, we have a number of ways to show a condition. The most common way is by using IF. Well, it’s also possible to use UNLESS, AS LONG AS, and PROVIDED to talk about conditions in English. I think it’s a good idea to learn how to use UNLESS, AS LONG AS, and PROVIDED, to expand your conversation choices. Let’s check them out!
UNLESS and AS LONG AS and PROVIDED
There is a golf club in the suburbs. It’s a private club and there is a sign outside that say “Members Only.” This means that you have to be a member to play golf there. In other words, if you are a member, you can play there, but if you are not a member, you can’t play there. So, in this situation, we can say:
- You can’t play there unless you are a member.
- You can play there as long as you are a member.
- You can play there provided you are a member.
Unless means except if, in a positive sentence and only if in a negative sentence.
- I can go home early unless something happens at the office. (…except if something happens)
- My phone works on the train unless the train enters a tunnel. (…except if it enters a tunnel)
- I won’t eat in a restaurant unless it’s clean. (I’ll eat there only if it’s clean)
- I won’t go to the party unless you go too. (I’ll go to the party only if you go)
As long as / provided (that)
As long as and provided (that) both mean “if.” Provided (that) is more formal than as long as, and we usually use provided in written English. In conversational English, we often use provided without “that”
- You can borrow pen as long as you bring it back.
- You can borrow pen provided (that) you bring it back.
- Going to Brooklyn by car is convenient as long as you can find a parking space.
- Going to Brooklyn by car is convenient provided (that) you can find a parking space.
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