Don't let's

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jan 16 21:32:45 UTC 2008

I'm sorry, but I did not say I'm uncomfortable with it. I said it is
ungrammatical. Perhaps it fits into a chronolect as you say, but as far
as I can tell, it is not a comfort issue for me, it is simply
grammatically unacceptable.

Ron Butters wrote that we can never "be sure about our individual
grammatical judgments." I would say that cuts both ways, and that people
who find this ungrammatical have an opinion just as valid as people who
say it is grammatical until studies are done proving it one way or the
other. It may turn out to be an issue cutting across regions, time,
social status and education. It may even be a grammatical issue on an
individual basis.

Another example where I probably disagree with many on this list is the
use of "mine's". Many probably would find it ungrammatical, yet it is
acceptable to me as a part of Asian-American Seattle culture, which I
was surrounded by as a teenager.

I'm open to the idea that my grammaticality judgment is off on this one,
but not until there is concrete proof from my dialect. BB

sagehen wrote:
> While "don't let's" is grammatical, probably most of us say "let's not" in
> its place.  They aren't quite equivalent, IMO, in that "do not let us"
> appears to be outwardly addressed, while "let us not" is reflexive.  Perhaps
> this is why BB isn't quite comfortable with it. The former has a kind of
> archaic quality (cf., eg., "lead us not into temptation") & as such shares
> the liability to be pushed to the sidelines & denigrated, like "ain't."
> Just my speculation.
> AM
> "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
> signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger & are
> not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."  --Dwight Eisenhower
> on 1/16/08 1:27 PM, Mark Mandel at thnidu at GMAIL.COM wrote:
>> On Jan 16, 2008 12:05 PM, Geraldine Hizer <Urqu at> wrote:
>>> re: 'don't let's)
>>> I echo Benj. Barrett's response.
>>> GH
>> On Jan 16, 2008 12:10 PM, Geraldine Hizer <Urqu at> wrote:
>>> Should add to my 'echo' - am from MO, by way of central IL.
>>> GH
>> Ahhh... Since you didn't include his response (below) in yours, and you
>> didn't reply in thread (your subject line was "Re: ADS-L Digest - 14 Jan
>> 2008 to 15 Jan 2008 (#2008-16)"), and you didn't connect your geographical
>> background with your "echo", I'll bring them together in-thread... tying up
>> the loose ends, as it were.
>> from    Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at>
>>> date    Jan 15, 2008 5:18 PM
>>> subject    Re: Don't let's
>>> mailed-by
>> 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
>> m a m

The American Dialect Society -

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