11/04/16 “Allow, Permit and Let”

e-lesson

ALLOW AND PERMIT

These words have similar meanings and uses. Permit is more formal.

Both words can be followed by object + infinitive.

Example:
We do not allow/permit people to smoke in this building
.

When there is no personal object, an –ing form is used.

Example:
We do not allow/permit smoking in this building.

Passive structures are common; personal subjects and gerund (-ing form) subjects are both possible.

Example:
People are not allowed/permitted to smoke in this building.
Smoking is not allowed/permitted in this building.

The passive structure with it is only possible with permit.

Example:
It is not permitted to smoke in this building.
(BUT NOT It is not allowed to smoke…)

Allow, but not permit, can be used with adverb particles.

Example:
She wouldn’t allow me in.
Mary isn’t allowed out at night.

WHAT ABOUT LET?
Let
 is the least formal of these three words, and is followed by object + infinitive without toCompare:

Examples:
Please allow me to buy you a drink. (polite and formal)

Let me buy you a drink. (friendly and informal)

Let is not usually used in the passive.
Example:
I wasn’t allowed to pay for the drinks. (NOT I wasn’t let)

Let can be used with adverb particles; passives are possible.

Examples:
She wouldn’t let me in.
I’ve been let down.

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