Don't let's

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 15 14:50:28 UTC 2008

At 9:20 AM -0500 1/15/08, William Salmon wrote:
>For me, an American, 'don't let's' is okay in special situations. For
>example, when you want to make a point, but you want to soften the
>delivery of that point. Perhaps to diffuse what could become a
>situation. It isn't standard for me, but I wouldn't toss it out
>Here's my favorite web example, apparently from an 1894 publication of
>the English Dialect Society.
>Don't let's go trolly-mogging about any longer.

This is weird.  It seems quite natural for me (NYC/Long Island, b.
1945), although definitely colloquial.  "Don't let's argue about it"
for example is an informal variant of "Let's not argue about it".
Trolly-mogging, on the other hand,...


P.S.  On the other hand, in the context of "Let's not and say we did"
I can't imagine getting "Don't let's and say we did".

>>I'm American and I consider it ungrammatical. BB
>>LanDi Liu wrote:
>>>Are there Americans who consider this construction to be grammatical in
>>>their dialect?  British/Australians who don't?
>>>I'm trying to verify whether "don't let's..." is more or less exclusively
>>>Randy Alexander
>>>Jilin City, China
>>The American Dialect Society -
>~Will Salmon
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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