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Can let us (or let's) be used with have in such a way?

Let's just have you stop being so mean to me, I'd really appreciate it.

2 Answers 2

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This usage is sometimes called the first person imperative, and it's marked by let us or let's, and it is so called because it includes the speaker. What you really are saying is

Stop being so mean to me.

By including yourself, you soften the command somewhat while maintaining a wry tone. After all, taken literally you yourself are asking someone to enter an agreement with yourself not to be mean to yourself.

The complement of let is the bare infinitive [to] have, familiar in a sentence like

Let's have dinner.

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  • The embedded "us" could also refer to a larger group including others around, if there are any. I.e. the meanie is disrupting others in the group as well, and the speaker is also speaking on their behalf. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 20:46
  • @JeremyNottingham Possibly, but then I'd expect the second sentence to read We'd really appreciate it.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 20:56
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There's two constructions combined here.

One is the let's VP-inf impositive construction:

  • Let's go to the movies tonight. (an offer to accompany the addressee)
  • Let's ask Fred whether he knows. (a suggestion about what to do)

It must contain an infinitive VP, without to, like go to the movies tonight.

The other is the causative or experiential have VP constructions, like

  • I had my tires rotated.
  • I had my tires slashed.
  • We had him sit next to his wife.
  • They have us signed up for monthly payments.

The two together act as a combined impositive, intended to command, but ameliorated by using a light 'suggestion' morpheme, and an indirect causative to spread the responsibility.

  • Let's have no more of this, please.
  • Let's have everybody stand up when the Queen enters, OK?
  • Let's not have everybody talking at once.
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  • -1. You are answering a question from a learner who is probably not even a native speaker of English, so using words like "ameliorated" is not good teaching practice, pompous even. And nobody calls this kind of clause an 'impositive' construction". The widely-used and standard term is 1st person let- imperative.
    – user168400
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 19:11
  • Sorry, I didn't realize this was one of your students; of course you know best about how much they can understand. I'm not answering any particular person; I'm answering a question as posed. The OP did not specify any particular language background, nor any intelligence or vocabulary deficit. Indeed, they correctly used the term "experiential have". Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 19:15
  • @JohnLawler - What? One of his students? What did I miss? Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 4:25
  • @JohnArmstrong - I am a big proponent of gently guiding English learners who post here without knowing better over to the other site. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 4:25

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