Skip to main content

Leave Alone vs. Let Alone (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of leave alone and let alone on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Q: Can you differentiate let and leave (as in, "Let me alone" and "Leave me alone")? I get confused as to when each should be used. –Jan I.

A: There is a pretty simple difference between let and leave when used in this context, and it's quite easy to explain.

“Leave alone” means to leave a person all by himself (in solitude). Please leave me alone, I don't want company. Alvin needs to study, so let's leave him alone in his room.

“Let alone,” on the other hand, means to stop bothering the person. Stop poking my leg and let me alone, Simon; I'm trying to watch TV. Theodore wanted his singing coach to let him alone instead of critiquing his singing. (And yes, I am going with a Chipmunks theme here.)

While the definitions above are the traditional uses of both words, it is becoming more common (and more acceptable) to use "leave me alone" in both contexts. But if you want to be a grammar purist, keep them separate.

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

    Tags
    terms:
    Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

    Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

    Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.

    Sea Bound

    Sea Bound

    Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone connected to the sea.

    writersMarket_wd-ad_1000x300 (1)

    Get Published With the Latest Market Books Editions

    Get published and find more success with your writing by using the latest editions of the Market Books, including Writer's Market, Poet's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more!

    Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

    Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

    For this week's market spotlight, we look at Michigan Quarterly Review, the flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan.

    Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

    Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

    This post looks at the differences between desperate and disparate with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

    What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

    What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

    What has made Sherlock Holmes so adaptable and changeable throughout the character’s original inception? Author Timothy Miller explains.

    How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

    How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

    When author Diana Giovinazzo found herself caught in the storm of grief, doing what she loved felt insurmountable. Here, she shares how she worked through her grief to find her creativity again.

    writer's digest wd presents

    WD Presents: Our Brand-New Digital Guide, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

    This week, we’re excited to announce our new “Get Published in 2022” digital guide, six new WDU courses, and more!

    5 Tips for Keeping Your Writing Rolling

    5 Tips for Keeping Your Writing Rolling

    The occasional bump in the writing process is normal, but it can be difficult to work through. Here, author Genevieve Essig shares five ways to keep your writing rolling.