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O'CONNOR - Tip of the Week

Are you unsure about the difference between “let” and “leave”?

Have a look at the latest “Tip of the Week” to find out more.


Let and Leave

 How would you say “Ich habe die Autotür offen gelassen” in English?


a)  I let the car door open.

b) I left the car door open.


If you think it should be b. I left the door open, you are correct. The verb “leave” has many meanings, but this is the one that often confuses German speakers of English.


In this case, “leave” means “to cause or allow to remain in a specific condition.” Here are some other examples.


  • Can you please leave your computer on? I need to look something up online. (Can you cause/allow your computer to remain on?)
  • I left the air conditioner running, so it should be cool when you get home. (I caused/allowed the air conditioner to remain running.)


The verb “let,” on the other hand, generally means just “to allow.” Sentence a. above therefore doesn’t make sense. You cannot allow a door to open. Here are some examples of the correct usage of let.


  • Let me finish talking! (Allow me to finish talking.)
  • Right, I’ll let you get back to work then. Bye. (I’ll allow you to get back to work.)


Are you still unsure?

Your trainer will be happy to help. Please ask in your next lesson.

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