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English definition of “unless”

unless

conjunction     /ənˈles/
B1 except if: You can't get a job unless you've got experience (= you can only get a job if you have experience). Unless you call me to say you're not coming, I'll see you at the theatre (= I will see you there if you do not call to say you are not coming).Connecting words which express a condition Grammar:Should you (Should with inversion)In formal situations, we can use should + subject (s) + verb (v) instead of if:See moreGrammar:Had you (Had with inversion)In formal situations, we can use had + subject + verb instead of if in third conditional sentences:See moreGrammar:+ In formal situations, we can use if + were to when we talk about things that might happen but which we think are unlikely:See moreGrammar:As long as, so long as, providing, etc.Sometimes we need to impose specific conditions or set limits on a situation. In these cases, conditional clauses can begin with phrases such as as long as, so long as, only if, on condition that, providing (that), provided (that).See moreGrammar:Or and otherwiseWe often use or and otherwise with conditional meanings:See moreGrammar:SupposingSupposing may be used with a conditional meaning. It can be used in first, second or third conditional sentences. The speaker invites the listener to imagine a situation:See moreGrammar:Conditionals: other expressions (unless, should, as long as)See moreGrammar:UnlessConditional clauses can begin with unless. Unless means something similar to ‘if … not’ or ‘except if’.See moreGrammar:UnlessWe use the conjunction unless to mean ‘except if’. The clause which follows unless is a subordinate clause (sc): it needs a main clause (mc) to make a complete sentence.See more
(Definition of unless conjunction from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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