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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 


ELSE : Words and phrases with 'else' and 'or else' in English

How and when 'else'  and 'or else' are used.


ELSE’ is used after words beginning with:
any-, every-, no- and some-
or after:
how, what, where, who, why .
It means ‘other, ‘another’, different’ or ‘additional’.

  • ANY-, EVERY-, NO-, SOME-: 
    • “Two coffees and an orange juice. Would you like anything else?”
    • “I decided to have spaghetti. Everything else was too expensive.”
    • “He said something else: he said that the car had a foreign registration plate.”
    • “Turn off that television! Have you got nothing else to do?”
    • “The boss always arrives half an hour before anyone/anybody else.”
    • ”We were the last to leave. Everyone else had gone home.”
    • “Except for my boyfriend I knew nobody/no one else at the party.
    • “I don’t know the answer, so you’ll have to ask someone else.”
    • "I don't like this place very much. Can we go somewhere else?"
    • “Some animals in this country can be found nowhere else in the world.”

  • HOW, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN, WHO, WHY: 
    • ”The burglar probably broke a window. How else could he get in?"
    • ”We’ve got plates, cutlery and glasses. What else do we need?”
    • ”I’ve searched the house for my keys. Where else could they be?”
    • "If we don't go tomorrow, when else can we go?"
    • ”Your colleague was with you. Who else was present?”
    • ”The boy went to the bakery to buy bread. Why else would he go there?”

  • OR ELSE:  is used to state the second of two possibilities, to say what the result will be if something does not happen or to make a threat.
    What follows 'or else' is an alternative or a logical conclusion to what precedes it.

    - to state the second of two possibilities:
    • ”We eat whatever we find in the kitchen, or else we go shopping.”
    • “Leave now, or else you'll have to wait until tomorrow morning.”
    • "You could drive across Belgium, or else fly to Paris and hire a car."
    • "The article must be interesting, or else he wouldn’t be still reading it.”

    - to say what will happen if something is not done:
    • "We must get there by seven or else we'll miss the train."
    • "The roof will have to be repaired or else it will collapse!"

    - to threaten someone:
    • "Do your homework or else your parents will be very cross!"
    • "You boys had better stop fighting or else I'll call the police!"

    - "or else" can be used alone, without specifying the exact nature of the threat, to warn that that there will be unpleasant consequences:
    • “Tidy your room, or else..!”
    • “Do what I say, or else…!”




Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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