Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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Constructions with let me (e.g. let me see, let me tell you, let me think what to do next) are usually analysed as so-called periphrastic imperatives. This paper shows that most of the examples found in Middle English and Early Modern English corpora cannot be understood in this sense but must be seen as constructions with the full verb let with the meaning “permit” or “cause”. While these constructions are still imperatives and in most cases directives, they are different in that they are focused on the addressee and — apparently — on the addressee’s approval. The paper traces the spread of these let-me constructions, their functions as strategies of politeness and their relationship to other so-called indirect directives in the history of English.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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