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I came across this but none of the dictionary meanings for 不然 seem to fit when it's at the beginning of a sentence. What's the meaning here as are this a common usage?

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不然 means otherwise in a declarative sentence and alternatively; how about in an imperative sentence.

In spoken language it can begin a sentence to propose 'plan B', which implies a self-evident 'plan A' that is favorable to one party but not the other, and there is no need to talk about it so the speaker jumps to the alternative plan already.


(Hidden context: ideally we should stick together but we couldn't for some obvious reason, like one person is not interested in the stuff the other person wants to shop, or both of us need to buy something but we're running out of time.) How about this, I am going to look around for the electronic products while you're shopping in that area.

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Usually 不然 means "otherwise", but here I think another translate would be "Another choice is..."

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Usually "不然" means "otherwise", and has similar meaning with "否则".

However in this context, I think it means "alternatively", "or", and it is better to say "要不然".

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