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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exercise 4

8 replies on “Let”

It is still quite common in BE. Less so in AE.

In AE, you also hear “let’s don’t ” I didn’t put that because I never use it, am not quite sure how to use it correctly and most people I respect think it is bad English 😉

Yes Mohamed. You can say ‘Don’t let’s argue’ and the alternative is ‘ Let’s not argue.’
It may be that you have never heard the phrase because you are not an argumentative person.
Best regards

i find it is useful and genuine resources for improving our English. i grab this opportunity to standardize my English and urges everybody to follow this path.

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