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I was reading the story "Quality" by John Galsworthy. There was a phrase in it: "two little shops let into one". I am unsure about what it means.

I knew him from the days of my extreme youth because he made my father's boots; inhabiting with his elder brother two little shops let into one, in a small by-street--now no more, but then most fashionably placed in the West End.

Quality (1911) by John Galsworthy [Link]

Does it mean that the shop consisted of two "shops" and there was one entrance into the shop?

  • For context, you can find the story here. – Aaron May 1 '18 at 8:11
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    Context is the important factor here, may be he meant that two little shops joined and made a one shop – Vishwa May 1 '18 at 8:42
  • I think we'll need OED for this sense of 'let into', but I agree with Vishwa that 'let into one' involves the 'opening up to greater freedom' {related to AHD transitive sense 5} and 'adjustment' {M-W sense 6} senses of 'let'. I've certainly come across this usage. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 '18 at 10:59
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The confusion arises from the verb let which in British English means to "rent". The owner of the property "rented" two shops to the tenants, the boot maker and his elder brother, who joined the two buildings into a one shop. To give a better idea I found this image, the two businesses–a greengrocer's and a butcher's–were run by R Turnbull and his sons.

enter image description here

It's also worth pointing out that the verb let is irregular; its past tense and past participle is let.

let

3. British [with object]
Allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments.

  • ‘she let the flat to a tenant’ (past simple)
  • ‘Almost all private landlords will only let properties on a shorthold tenancy, in order to protect their investment.’ (simple future)
  • Mr Bennett's business is mainly letting property to students.’ (present participle)
  • A picture is worth a thousand words! – k1eran May 1 '18 at 22:38

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