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Grammar Reference

Let and allow

The verbs let and allow have similar meanings – both are related to giving permission. But they're not used in exactly the same way.

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.

Form (allow in passive)

Subject + to be + allowed (past participle)

Take note

Here's another useful tip. In the active voice, allow takes the infinitive + to, but let does not.

  • They let him leave early to go to the doctor.
  • She let her brother borrow the car.
  • They allowed him to leave early to go to the doctor.
  • She allowed her brother to borrow the car.