How To Properly Use the Verb “Let”
Let is always followed by a bare infinitive verb.
- Correct: I let her try some of the food I ordered.
- Incorrect:I let her to try some of the food I ordered.
“Let” Grammar Rules
Let’s talk about let and how to properly construct a grammatically sound sentence using this verb.
(To) let is a verb that has a handful of different definitions and uses. One of its primary meanings is “to allow or permit.”
Can you let Thomas attend the 5:00 PM lecture instead?
(To) let must be followed by an object and another verb.
I let Morgan [object] dance [verb] around in the rain.
However, the verb that follows it must be the bare infinitive form. Remember, an infinitive is the base form of a verb with “to” preceding it (these are known as full infinitives). A bare infinitive is one without the “to.”
I promise to dance with you during the next song.
In the sentence above, promise is a verb and to dance is the infinitive verb.
When followed by a verb, let is always followed by a bare infinitive verb, (never with a full infinitive verb). Keep in mind that let can also be followed by a noun phrase (e.g., Let the man in) or a preposition (e.g., The dog needs to be let out).
I let him dance with her first.
I let him
to dance with her first.
My parents didn’t let me attend the dance.
My parents didn’t let me
to attend the dance.
Don’t let the negativity affect you.
Don’t let the negativity
to affect you.
It’s important to remember that let meaning “to allow or permit” is not commonly used in the passive form. Instead, use a verb like allow.
let to stay up past curfew.
She was allowed to stay up past curfew.
Keep in Mind
In British English, let also means “rent.”
- She let her flat to her friends.
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