Many words in English have multiple meanings, which can confuse people, especially English language learners. The term “case” is one such example that can cause some confusion, in part because it is in several phrases that can be unclear, such as the phrase “is it still the case.” But what does “is it still the case” mean?
When we ask, “is it still the case?” we are asking if something is true given the specific situation at hand. Other ways of saying it are to ask, “is it still true that…?” or “in this situation….” Several other phrases use the word “case,” such as “is it the case” or “in that case” or the idiom “is it not the case?”
Let’s look at some of the most common phrases that use the word “case,” how to use the phrase “is it still the case,” and some related phrases you can use in its place.
What Does “Is It Still the Case” Mean?
The phrase “is it still the case” asks if a pre-existing situation is true or currently the same (source). We use it when the person we are speaking to is already aware of the situation we’re referencing, and we want to know if the details around that situation are still true.
- Is it still the case that the library is closed on Saturdays?
- Is it still the case that you and Sara are dating?
- Is it still the case that they are out of town?
To better understand the phrase, let’s break it down into two parts: “Is it still” and “the case.”
Understanding “Is It Still”
When we use the phrase “is it still,” we are asking if something is the same as it has been previously. Thus, we are referencing a known pre-existing detail, which is an anaphoric phrase or something that refers to an earlier word or group of words.
Consider the first example above:
- Is it still the case that the library is closed on Saturdays?
In that example, the speaker and the listener both know that the library used to be closed on Saturdays. However, the speaker does not know if the library continues to be closed Saturdays and is seeking that information from the listener.
If the speaker and listener didn’t know that the library used to be closed on Saturdays, the speaker would have to explain that first. They might say something like:
- In the past, the library was always closed on Saturdays. Do you know if that is still true?
Like many English words, the word “case” has a few different meanings. You will know which meaning to use based on the context in the sentence. We’ll go over a few examples to make it clear.
The Case: a Situation
The first definition is the most abstract, referring to a particular situation or example (source). This definition of the word “case” is the one we use in the phrase “is it still the case?” In the phrase “is it still the case,” the word “case” means a situation, example, or specific detail.
Some other ways you can use the word “case” with this definition are as follows:
- Is this the case
- In that case
- Just in case
- In any case
What About “Is That the Case”?
The phrase “Is this the case” is a very similar one to “is it still the case.” They have essentially the same meaning since there is an anaphoric reference (“is that”) and a situation (“the case”).
The main difference between “is it still the case” and “is that the case” is whether the specific detail confirms something that used to be true or confirms a current detail.
Consider the following example:
- Person one: Johnny doesn’t want any apples.
- Person two: Oh, is that the case?
Person two is confirming that Johnny doesn’t want apples right now based on new information.
Understanding the usage of phrases based on time and location can be a confusing subject to understand. You can read more about some common phrases and when to use them in these articles: “As of Now: Meaning and Proper Usage” and “Greatly Appreciated: Meaning and Proper Usage.”
Other Definitions for the Word “Case”
“Case” can also refer to a problem, a physical container, or even an argument. We will go over some common other uses of “case” and some example sentences to understand the context.
The Case: a Problem
The second use of the word “case” refers to a problem or formal event or situation; it typically involves law enforcement, lawyers, social workers, or other professionals that work with individuals in troublesome settings.
- The police officer worked on the murder case for nine months before getting a lead.
- The social worker was assigned a new child abuse case.
- The lawyer won the case.
Another common way to use “case” is to refer to an illness, especially if it is a contagious illness.
- She’s got a case of the measles.
- He has a case of chickenpox.
The Case: a Container
The word “case” can also refer to a physical container. Usually, a case is a specific type of container designed especially to hold the object inside it.
- She always puts her violin back in its case.
- The phone case had a beautiful design on it.
Sometimes a case refers to a large package of items.
- I ordered two bottles of wine, but instead, they sent me a whole case.
- The store only lets you buy canned tomatoes by the case.
The Case: an Argument
This definition can also refer to an argument or reason why something should happen.
- He made a strong case for additional vacation time to his boss.
In other words, he made a strong argument to his boss for additional vacation days.
Other Phrases That Use “Case”
“Is it still the case” and “is that the case” are just a few phrases that use the word “case” to mean a problem or situation. In this next section, we’ll go over a few more phrases that use the word “case” and offer some examples to explore.
Is It Not the Case?
“Is it not the case?” is an idiom that means “Isn’t it true?” Idioms are expressions that we cannot understand strictly by the words that compose them.
- Is it not the case that you stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
In That Case
The phrase “in that case” is fairly similar to the other phrases we have mentioned so far. It has an anaphoric reference (“in that”) and a situation (“case”).
However, when we use the phrase “in that case,” we are not using it as a question but as a statement, followed by another statement or question. It means “since that is the situation” or “since that is true.”
- In that case, I’m going to go home and get some sleep.
Since this situation is occurring, I’m going to go home.
- In that case, why don’t I ride home with you?
Since this situation is occurring, why don’t I ride home with you?
In the examples above, the speaker learned a new piece of information about their situation (“that case”), which informed their decision. In the second example sentence above, the speaker may have learned that their original ride home can no longer drive them, and they are offering a new solution.
In Any Case
“In any case” has a slightly different meaning. While it still has an anaphoric reference and a situation, the word “any” slightly changes the meaning. “In any case” means “no matter what the situation is.” They are saying that there can be any situation and their decision would still be true.
Consider the following example conversation:
- Person one: Let’s go to the mall.
- Person two: Don’t you have homework?
- Person one: Not today. In any case, I need a new ruler to do my math homework.
In the example above, person one states that even if they did have homework to do today, they would still decide to go to the mall to purchase a new ruler.
In Case / In Case Of
Another phrase using the word “case” is “in case” or “in case of.” We use this phrase when referring to a decision you are making to prepare for a potential situation or emergency.
- I’m going to bring a snack bar to work in case I get hungry.
- I always bring my phone with me in case of emergencies.
We use the phrase “just in case” in the same way we use “in case.”
- I’m going to bring a snack bar to work just in case I get hungry.
However, you can also use the phrase “just in case” on its own. There is an implication of a specific reason you are doing the action. Using “just in case” on its own without explaining the reason is most appropriate when the reason is obvious.
- I always lock the doors at night, just in case.
Off (Someone’s) Case
When we say “off (someone’s) case,” we mean that someone has stopped bothering or nagging someone else (source).
- My mom finally got off my case about cleaning my room.
You can also use this phrase to mean the opposite.
- My mom won’t get off my case about cleaning my room.
In the first example, the speaker’s mother has stopped asking them to clean their room. However, in the second example, the speaker’s mother continues to bother them about cleaning their room.
On (Someone’s) Case
The phrase “on (someone’s) case” means to be bothering or nagging someone.
- My teacher has been on my case about my homework.
- I have been on his case about finishing his work.
Pronoun Usage With the Word “Case”
Pronoun usage is fairly flexible with phrases like “is that the case” or “is it still the case.” When considering the phrase “is it still the case,” you can easily use the pronouns “this” or “that” in place of “it,” and the general meaning will stay the same.
- Is it the case
- Is this the case
- Is that the case
All of these phrases are correct no matter which of those pronouns you use. However, personal pronouns (she, you, he) would not be correct to use with these phrases.
- Is she still the case?
- Is he still the case?
- Are you still the case?
These are incorrect because “case” is a situation, not a person, so it cannot have a personal pronoun.
Pronouns With “In That Case”
When considering the phrase “In that case,” know that you can also say “in this case.” “This” and “that” are pronouns we use to determine how close a noun is to the speaker.
If we were to say “in this case,” we are typically referring to an exception or a specific situation with circumstances that only pertain to this situation.
- Student: I forgot my homework, sir. Can I have an extension?
- Teacher: In this case, I will grant you an extension, but next time I will not.
It is NOT possible to use the pronoun “it” with the phrase “In that case.”
Other Phrases to Use
Sometimes you may not want to use the phrase “the case” because it is a bit metaphorical, and you may want to use a more straightforward phrase. Below, we go over a few options that you can use in place of some phrases that use “the case.”
In Place of “Is It Still the Case”
Remember that when we ask if something is still the case, we ask the person if a particular fact or situation about them is still valid. Below are a few examples of ways you can ask this without using the idiom “is it still the case.”
|With “Is it Still the Case”||Without “Is it Still the Case”|
|Is it still the case that you live here?||Is it still true that you live here?|
|Is it still the case that you work there?||Are you still working there?|
|Is it still the case that he/she has a dog?||Does he/she still have a dog?|
|Is it still the case that they are dating?||Are they still dating?|
In Place of “Is That the Case”
“Is that the case” is another one of the more common phrases using “the case.” Below are a few examples of ways you can say phrases without “is that still the case.”
|With “Is that the Case”||Without “Is that the Case”|
|I heard she left; is that the case?||I heard she left; is that true?|
|Is that the case? (on its own)||Is that so?|
In Place of “In Any Case”
Remember that “in any case” means “no matter what the details are.” Here are some examples of other phrases you can use.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
|With “In any Case”||Without “In any Case”|
|In any case, I’m going to the store.||No matter, I’m going to the store.|
|She left on her own in any case.||She left on her own anyway.|
|In any case, they bought the dog.||Anyway, they bought the dog.|
“Is it still the case” is a phrase that means “is it still true” or “is it true in this situation.” When using words like “case,” it can be tricky to understand what is the correct way to use them since the word’s meaning can change quite a bit based on context.
Hopefully, this article helped explain a bit more about this phrase and related phrases that use “the case,” and you can feel comfortable using them in conversations with friends and family.