Sign up ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I notice that "let alone" is used in sentences that have a comma. The structure of the sentence is what comes before the comma is some kind of negative statement. Right after the comma is "let alone," followed by the rest of the sentence.

What does "let alone" mean here? Does it mean the same thing as "or even?" Can someone explain this phrase and sentences that have it?

share|improve this question
Yes, it is almost the same thing as "or even." – The Raven Jun 14 '11 at 23:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It is roughly synonymous with the terms "not to mention" or "to say nothing of", except that those terms require a change in tense for the following action.

The sentence "I wouldn't go near a stingray, let alone pet one" implies that the speaker would stop far short of even being in a situation to do what follows the "let alone" clause. They wouldn't go near a stingray, therefore it is out of the question that they would pet one.

share|improve this answer

in contrast to

The first part of the sentence sets up the situation, then what follows the comma, prefaced by "let alone" shows what a reasonable person might expect in contrast to the lesser option.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.