Understanding MAKE & LET: Part 2

This is video number 2 in a 2-part series about the verbs MAKE & LET. If you haven't watched Part 1, I recommend you do that now, and then come back.

Today we're going to talk about verb LET. Now, as we learned in the video about MAKE, two things are important to consider. First, who has the most power in the relationship between the two people? And second, what does each person want? Now, LET usually has a more positive connotation than MAKE, for example: My boss MAKES me stay late on Friday nights. It's not something I want. Whereas LET...My boss LETS me go home early on my birthday. That's something I want. It's a little more positive. Let's get started.

To LET means to allow, or to give permission for someone to do something.

To LET means to allow, or to give permission.

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Let's look at the structure. Just like when we use the word MAKE, with LET there are two people involved. One has power, and the other person doesn't have power. The person without power wants to do some action. If the powerful person says, "Okay, you can do that action," we say, the powerful person LETS the other person do the action.

Here's an example. The teenager asks "Can I go camping with my buddies?" He wants to do this. His mom says "What a nice idea." She wants the action also. Mom LETS him go camping.

The teenager asks, "Can I take my girlfriend to the movies?" Dad says, "Sure, why not." Dad LETS him take his girlfriend to the movies.

The teenager asks, "Can I borrow the car Dad?" Dad says, "Okay, but drive safely." Dad LETS him borrow the car. 

With LET, the less powerful person always wants to do the action.

With LET, the less powerful person always wants to do the action. But what if the more powerful person says, "Sorry, you can't." We use DOESN'T LET.

The son asks "Can I stay home from school?" Mom says "Absolutely not." Mom DOESN'T LET him stay home from school. She doesn't want him to do this thing. And because she has more power, he must listen.

The son asks, "Can I have a party while you're away?" The Dad says "No way." Dad DOESN'T LET him have a party. 

Now let's practice. Remember, when using MAKE, DON'TMAKE, LET and DON'TLET we always have two people. One is more powerful than the other. We often use MAKE and LET when talking about parent and child relationships. Or boss and worker relationships. What about a married relationship? Sometimes the husband has more power and sometimes the wife has more power. MAKE and LET can change depending on who is more powerful at the moment. The doctor has more power than the patient. A police officer can have more power than a citizen. And airport security often has more power than a traveler.

Let's look at this last example. Here we have two airport security guards. They both have the power. The traveler, or passenger, has very little power. What does the passenger want?

The passenger doesn't want to wait in line, or to take off his belt. But the security guard makes him do these things. He must, even though he doesn't want to. He doesn't want to take off his pants, and he doesn't want to unpack his whole suitcase. In this situation, the security guard doesn't make him do these things.

The passenger also wants to bring his carry-on bag and to bring his computer onto the flight. The security guard says "okay, you can do these things." The security guard LETS him. The passenger wants to bring 200 ml of shampoo and bring a water bottle. The security guard DOESN'TLET him do those things. He says, "No, you are not allowed."

Thanks for watching this two-part series on MAKE & LET. I hope that it answered some questions for you. Do you have a question about English? Type it into the comments below and I'll try to make a video for you.

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