How to use ‘unless’: conjunction

Unless is a subordinating conjunction. Here is how we use it correctly.


Unless means 'except if'.

We use unless to say that there may be an exception and that this exception will change the situation.

We're playing tennis tomorrow unless it rains.
(= We're playing tennis tomorrow. However, one exception could change our plans – rain.)

Don't go there unless he tells you to.
(= Don't go there, except if he tells you to go.)

We use the present tense after unless when referring to the future.

I won’t go to the party unless she invites me.

unless she will invite

We don't use unless in conditional sentences.

We'll cancel tomorrow's tennis match if it rains.

unless it rains

More examples with unless

  • I’m not going to the party unless you come too. I don’t want to go alone.
  • We won’t get a table at the restaurant unless we get there early.
  • Unless I’m mistaken, John’s house is the second on the left.
  • We can go in the car – unless you’d prefer to walk

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