Words Students Confuse: Let and Leave

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,030 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
Students often confuse the verbs let and leave. They are sometimes used in similar constructions, but most of the time their meanings are different.

First, let means "to permit, to allow." Its forms are let - let - let.  For example, "Let me try to solve the possible" means "Allow me the chance". Often it is used in the construction "Let someone do something." Another example, "I wouldn't have let him go to the party last weekend".

Leave, on the other hand, means "go away from, quit, escape, go." It is irregular, and its forms are leave - left - left . It is transitive (it takes an object - example, "I left my books on the bus the other day") or intransitive, (it doesn't take an object, for example, "She is leaving for Jordan today").

There is a common spoken construction with uses either leave or let, which is "Let (or leave) someone alone. The best way to say this is "Leave me alone", with the meaning of "Stop bothering me". But "let me alone" is also heard frequently.

Try to put a form of "let" or "leave" in the following sentences:

1. Please remember to ______________ the dog go outside.
2. Don't ________________ your debit card in the machine!
3. I _______________ my job when a better came along.
4. The teacher won't ________________ us use our telephones in class.
5. They will __________________ for Portugal next summer.

Click here for the correct answers:

1. Please remember to let the dog go outside.
2. Don't leave your debit card in the machine!
3. I left my job when a better came along.
4. The teacher won't let us use our telephones in class.
5. They will leave for Portugal next summer.

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