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Use of 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.