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Encase vs. Incase

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If you have done any significant amount of reading in English, you will notice that some verbs involving placing things inside other things begin with the prefix en-, while others begin with in-. There is no single rule for deciding which word gets which prefix. English borrowed the en- prefix from French, while in- comes from Old English, where it was originally borrowed from Latin. Some writers would consider tracing every word back to its origins a fascinating enterprise, while others would consider it a tedious chore. If you belong in the second category, you probably don’t have time to go digging though etymology to find out whether incase or encase is the correct spelling of that particular verb. Lucky for you, all you have to do is read this post.

Encase as verb:

Encase is used as a verb in English language where it means to enclose or cover in a case or close-fitting surround.

Each piece was encased in a plastic shrink-wrap.

Encase means to protect something within a covering. One might encase a valued instrument in a protective box, for instance, or an insect larva might encase itself in a chrysalis while it undergoes metamorphosis.

Use of encase:

Encase are the most popular and commonly known and used spellings of the word throughout the world.

Examples:

Finland and Sweden hope to be the first countries in the world to be able to put the most dangerous high-level waste (HLW) into underground storage in the next decade, using a new technology to encase fuel rods and protect them from erosion. [The Japan Times]

The crew of the space expedition brought back an alien life form encased in a block of blue ice.

To preserve your ancestors, mummify their bodies and encase them in an ornate sarcophagus for thousands of years.

Because your iPhone is so visible, whatever you use to encase it becomes a defining personal statement. [The Wall Street Journal]

Use of incase:

Incase is an outdated spelling of encase. Although it was more common in years past, it has fallen out of favor precipitously in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In case is a phrase that means to do something as a safeguard or precaution. This can also be used when someone else may have not done something (e.g., in case you haven’t…). This is always spelled as two words.

Examples:

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is on standby to assist Britons in Greece in case the cash-strapped country pulls out of the eurozone and holidaymakers are left stranded. [Daily Mail]

In an unprecedented move, Poland’s president has appointed army Lt. Gen. Marek Tomaszycki as commander of the nation’s armed forces in case of war. [ABC News]

But just in case you’re seriously considering this, please allow me the opportunity to convince you to do otherwise. [Wired]

Encase or incase:

Encase is a verb that means to place in a protective shell or box. Incase is a spelling variant that has been outplaced by encase for almost 200 years. In case is a phrase that means to do something as a safeguard or precaution.

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"Encase vs. Incase." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/encase_vs._incase>.

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