In conversation, I just said:

Ни за что! Мне нужно быть налегке, чтобы, в случае чего, я мог бы быстренько отправиться.

We were talking about how I like travelling light on business trips. I wanted to express the idea of "Should anything happen ... at the drop of a hat" with the phrase "в случае чего".

Ни за что! Мне нужно быть налегке, чтобы, чуть что, я мог бы быстренько отправиться.

I'm wondering how "чуть что" would have stacked up against "в случае чего". Does "в случае чего" carry a somewhat stronger negative connotation, hinting at some sort of problem popping up?

  • I think negativity will be defined by context. But yes, случай might imply negative circumstances and may be perceived as a bit more 'alarming'.
    – alexsms
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 13:29
  • the second бы after чтобы is redundant, native speakers, especially young and especially in Russia would often multiply these бы as if the first one were forgotten by the time they arrived at the second and so on, but it's a poor practice Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 15:14

3 Answers 3


В случае чего does have a slight negative connotation indeed. If you don't want it, it would be better to use если что.

В случае чего and если что both mean "should anything happen" (the former implying "anything bad", although not strictly so).

Если что can have an additional meaning of "just so you know".

Чуть что means the same as если что plus the notion of "at a drop of a hat".

Вот тебе мой номер, в случае чего — звони // Here's my phone number, call me should anything happen.

Вот тебе мой номер, если что — звони // Here's my phone number, call me on any occasion.

Вот тебе мой номер, чуть что — звони // Here's my phone number, should anything happen, call me right away.

  • Ah, so it looks like I should have gone with "чуть что" in my phrasing. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 13:59
  • @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens it's not as compelling as you might have thought, just a slight variation in connotations, but nothing critical Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 15:17

I would add that чуть что carries a more immediate meaning and, to my ears at least, suggests more trivial cases under which the action happens.

Like in the example in the other answer,

В случае чего, звони Is like "in case anything happens, call me", usually implying more serious situations, but

Чуть что, звони

Is more like "whatever happens, call me", no matter how trivial the matter you want to talk about.

This isn't strict, but that's the idea I get from both.

  • what i think fits as a translation of чуть что is as soon as + subject & predicate, while в случае чего as if/in case + subject & predicate Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 11:33

В случае чего works better in your example.

в случае чего ~= при необходимости (about actions in case of some predictable event)

чуть что ~= если вдруг что-то пойдёт не так (about reaction to a slightest sign of something going wrong):

Чуть что я сразу же отменю отправку груза.

Чуть что он сразу бьёт свою собаку тапком.

Чуть что он всегда умывал руки.

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