Friday, November 30, 2012

Let

We can use let to mean to rent out a house.
  • We moved to Australia and let our house in London.
A major use of let is for talking about ‘allowing’ and ‘permission’.
  • My mother let me come.
  • I let her leave early.
One pattern is let followed by an OBJECT followed by a BARE INFINITIVE
  • She let me have the last one.
  • You must let us know when you are coming to New York.
  • I didn’t let my friend drive my car.
  • Why did you let Jane do that?
Another pattern is let followed by an OBJECT followed by a COMPLEMENT
  • Let me past.
  • The police aren’t letting anybody out of the building.
  • Don’t let him get away.
  • Why did you let him in?
Notice that we can use reflexive pronouns to talk about what we allow ourselves to do.
  • I let myself be influenced by her.
  • She let herself out.
  • I didn’t let myself be talked into it.
  • Did you let yourself in?
Notice that we do not make a contraction out of let us when asking for permission.
  • Let us help you.
  • Let us pay for this.
  • Let us buy that.
  • Let us take the risk.
We use let’s when we are making a suggestion.
  • Let’s go to the cinema.
  • Let’s stay at home.
  • Let’s not argue. (formal)
  • Don’t let’s argue. (informal)
Compare these
  • Let us watch TV, please. (asking for permission)
  • Let’s watch TV. (a suggestion)
There are many fixed expressions, idioms and phrasal verbs using let.
Let alone means ‘much less’
  • I’ve never been to Africa, let alone Ghana.
  • I’ve never met any actor, let alone Brad Pitt.
Let go can mean to dismiss
  • My company let 20 people go.
  • I was let go three weeks ago.
Let your hair down means to lose your inhibitions.
  • At the office party, everybody let their hair down and we had fun.
Don’t let it get you down means to stay cheerful although something bad has happened.
  • Everybody makes mistakes. Don’t let it get you down.
Let you off/let you off the hook means that you are excused, even though you did something wrong or had something bad to do.
  • I made a mess but the boss let me off.
  • I was supposed to tidy up after the party but I was let off the hook as Sandra did it.
Letting off steam means to get rid of excess energy or frustration.
  • After work I go to the gym and let off steam on the treadmill.
  • We need to go out after the exams and let off steam.
Let me see and let me think are expressions used to give you time to think.
  • You want a raise? Let me think. Can we discuss this later?
  • A good place for lunch? Let me see. How about the Italian restaurant?
Let’s say and let’s suppose are used to talk about hypothetical situations.
  • Let’s say that you were boss. What would you do?
  • Let’s suppose that we don’t get the contract. What do we do?
Let’s hope is used to express a hope.
  • Let’s hope he gets the job.
  • Yes, let’s hope so.

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