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"I might be wrong but Britain's institutions seem to be designed to be respected with no safeguards in case they're not."

(From The Guardian readers' forum.)

(i) Does "in case they're not" refer to the adjective (past participle?) "respected" in the sentence above?

(ii) What is the role of the PP "in case" in "in case they're not"?

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(i) In the context, I read the whole sentence as I might be wrong but Britain's institutions seem to be designed to be respected with no safeguards in case they're not , where means "respected".

(ii) I think that "in case" is a marker of subordination in that sentence together with the omitted "that" subordinator, i.e., in in case [that] they're are not "in case [that]" is a compound subordinator.

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I might be wrong but Britain's institutions seem to be designed to be respected with no safeguards in case they're not.

tkacka15(i) Does "in case they're not" refer to the adjective (past participle?) "respected" in the sentence above?

Yes: "in case they're not" is an adjunct (probably 'purpose'), with "they" referring to "Britain's institutions", and the missing complement of "are not" understood as "respected" (i.e. "in case Britain's institutions are not respected"). I take "respected" as a past participle in a passive clause.

tkacka15(ii) What is the role of the PP "in case" in "in case they're not"?

"In case" is best analysed as a compound preposition functioning as head of the PP in case they're not.

tkacka15(i) In the context, I read the whole sentence as I might be wrong but Britain's institutions seem to be designed to be respected with no safeguards in case they're not ——, where —— means "respected".

Yes, see my comment at (i) above.

tkacka15(ii) I think that "in case" is a marker of subordination in that sentence together with the omitted "that" subordinator, i.e., in in case [that] they're are not "in case [that]" is a compound subordinator.

I'd say that "in case" is just the head of the PP "in case they're not", with the content clause "they're not" as its complement. The content clause is shown to be subordinate by virtue of being a dependent in the PP.

Most prepositions exclude "that", as does "in case".

Comments  

Thank you for the detailed explanation.