Let & allow

Аудио урок английского языка. Как и в каких случаях используются английские слова: «let» и «allow».

Matt didn’t see much of the concert. When he went out to get a drink, he was refused permission to go back in. In English, to talk about giving and refusing permission, we can use both let and allow. Both words mean ‘give permission to do something’.

First, here’s Matt using let.

Matt: …they let me go out to get a drink, but then they wouldn’t let me back in!

Now the verb let is usually followed by a noun or object pronoun, and then by an infinitive without «to».

Matt: …they let me go out to get a drink…

Did you hear it? Let, me, go. Let, pronoun, infinitive.

Now, let can be made negative by using an auxiliary verb, like didn’t, can’t or wouldn’t. And it’s possible to use a prepositional phrase like ‘back in’ instead of the infinitive.

Matt: … they let me go out and get a drink, but then they wouldn’t let me back in!

Now, we can also use ‘allow’ to talk about permission. Like ‘let’, ‘allow’ is followed by a noun or

object pronoun, but then, it takes an infinitive with «to», like this:

Matt: They allowed me to go out.

Like let, you can use won’t or wouldn’t to make a negative:

Matt: They wouldn’t allow me to go back in.

But ‘allow’ is a bit more formal than ‘let’, and so it’s common to find it in the passive form, like

this:

Matt: ‘people who leave the auditorium during a performance are not allowed to re-enter’.

Let and allow are both followed by nouns or object pronouns. ‘Let’ takes an infinitive without «to», and ‘allow’ takes an infinitive with «to».

Both can be made negative with an auxiliary verb, and allow is often used in the passive form.

Let

Subject

let

object

infinitive or preposition phrase

They let me go out and get drink
They wouldn’t let me back in

Allow

Subject

allow

object

infinitive with «to»

They allowed me to go out and get drink
She won’t allow anyone to smoke in the office

Allow (passive)

Passive subject

verb ‘to be’

allowed

infinitive with «to»

He wasn’t allowed to go out and get drink
Nobody is allowed to smoke in the office