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I'd like to know how a French speaker might express this, especially when nothing specific follows it, e.g.

One of these things is usually enough, but I've bought a second one, just in case.

Un seul de ces machins suffit normalement, mais j'en ai acheté un deuxième, …

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2 Answers 2

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Au cas où. Grammatically, one should complete with the situation where it would be useful, but it is very common not to expand it.

Un seul de ces machins suffit normalement, mais j'en ai acheté un deuxième, au cas où…

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Could raisonably be written juste au cas où to match **just** in case. –  F. Hauri Jan 5 '13 at 0:30
    
While there are not completing phrase, Frenchies like to terminate with tree dots, like this: in case... –  F. Hauri Jan 5 '13 at 0:35
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Ou :

  • par précaution
  • on ne sait jamais
  • à tout hasard
  • des fois que ... (familier)
  • tout peut arriver
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