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?

  • Yes, it is almost the same thing as "or even."
    – The Raven
    Jun 14, 2011 at 23:26
  • 1
    It's actually the opposite of "or even." The excellent example below of "I wouldn't go near a stingray, let alone pet one" demonstrates this. If you wanted to use "or even" with this sentence, you'd say "I wouldn't pet a stingray, or even go near one." In other words, the action described after "or even" is considered "less" than the action in the first clause of the sentence; the action described after "let alone" is considered "greater" than the action in the first clause.
    – Nick Jones
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


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.


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.

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