Don't let's

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 16 01:07:53 UTC 2008

At 7:55 PM -0500 1/15/08, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>I'm from the East Coast, and it would violate my rules of grammar
>also.  But I could do it without the second contraction, as in "Mom,
>don't let us overeat on Thanksgiving."  However, this seems a
>different sense of "let" than "don't let's".

Yes indeed.  That's the ordinary imperative (= allow), while as
mentioned, the relevant sense of "don't let's VP" is a negative
suggestion, equivalent to "let's not VP".


>At 1/15/2008 05:18 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>>Since I'm the only one so far who has said this is ungrammatical,
>>perhaps I should provide more detail.
>>I think I'm the only one of the people responding who is from the West
>>Coast. AFAIK, I have heard this construction only two or three times in
>>my life, about thirty years ago. I think the main person I heard it from
>>was a child of Great Depression Alaska homesteaders.
>>I would therefore understand this to be a regional variation, but would
>>never generate this sentence and consider it to break MY rules of
>>grammar. 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 -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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