Source, para 4 : p 2 of 2, 'Against YA', by Ruth Graham, slate.com

Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this. I know, I know: Live and let read. Far be it from me to disrupt the “everyone should just read/watch/listen to whatever they like” ethos of our era.

1. My guess is that let read = let [you] read, so the subject is the implied you. Right?

2. This syntax sounds quaint, so does this involve grammar from an earlier form of English? Please explain and elucidate, since I want to look up the formal terms describing this issue (such as these)?

  • 5
    Are you familiar with the saying live and let live? – choster Jan 22 '15 at 3:47
  • @choster yea well i would have come up with live and let die :DD Gramatically the sentence connsists of 2 imperatives in a paratactic sentence structure. Nevertheless i cannot describe the missing of "them" (ie. let them read/live) [atleast not right now] got to move. – AverageGatsby Jan 22 '15 at 6:35

This is only my theory. The same thing happens quite often with the verb "help," such as in the following sentence:

The new rule helps protect forests from the 140 known pests and pathogens that currently affect forests. (a sentence borrowed from http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=1/1/2012&todate=12/31/2012&display=Month&type=public&eventidn=87078&view=EventDetails&information_id=174335&print=print )

My theory is "to" is omitted before the bare infinitive "protect" because what is really being said is "the new rule helps to protect forests from the 140 known pests." Thus, "to protect" serves as an object of the main verb "help."

However, since "help" and "make" are a causative verb, we may omit "to" even when they are used as a transitive verb.

And once again, this is only my theory, but your theory also makes sense to me.

  • Elaborating on what choster commented, it is impossible to assume that "you" is omitted. Because "live and let live" means "(You) live and (you) let (others) live." Thus, "live and let live" may an evidence where your theory falls apart. – N.R. in Seoul Jan 22 '15 at 6:23
  • 1
    help does not need to -- some even frown on help to. – Kris Jan 22 '15 at 7:23

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