don't let us wait vs. don't make us wait

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tomtombp, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. tomtombp Senior Member

    Is there any difference between "don't let us wait" and "don't make us wait"?

    I think the difference might be (if any) that using "make" emphasizes that the person makes us wait on purpose even though he/she could already give us what we are waiting for, while in the "let" version it is beyond his/her control. I'm not sure though. "Not letting" can also be done on purpose.
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Well, yes, there is a difference between "Don't let us wait!" = don't allow us to wait and "Don't make us wait!" = don't oblige us to wait/don't force us to wait.

    It occurs to me, though, that you might be asking about "Don't let's wait" = Let's not wait. That's quite different from "Don't let us wait!":)
  3. tomtombp Senior Member

    No, my question was correct. However, the difference is still not 100% clear to me. Could you please give an example for both versions? Thanks.
  4. tomtombp Senior Member

    It's as if you said waiting was our privilege??? That's what "allow" means to me. We can wait. It's allowed... Or we can't wait because it's not allowed ... This second one doesn't make any sense to me. How can we stop waiting when it's not up to us at all.

    I must be missing something here ... Maybe it's just because it's too late but I'd really appreciate some examples. Thanks.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Can you give us an example of where you've come across "Don't let us wait", tomtombp?

    I suppose it's possible that, in some contexts, it might mean "Don't leave us waiting":).
  6. tomtombp Senior Member

    I just told someone "don't make us wait" to urge an answer. Then I was thinking if "let us wait" would have been more correct. I intended to use an ironic tone because nobody really cared about the answer:)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thank you for the context, tomtom:).

    In that situation, I would use either "Don't make us wait!" or (less likely) "Don't leave us waiting!"

    I wouldn't use "Don't let us wait!"
  8. tomtombp Senior Member

    Thanks Loob, that means I did well this time:) However, I'm still interested to have an example on the most common usage of "don't let us wait" if possible. Thanks.
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm sorry, tomtom, I can't think of an example where I'd use "Don't let us wait".

    Perhaps someone else can....
  10. tomtombp Senior Member

    Ok. Let me try to explain it to myself: (Oops, I just used another "let":) because I WANTED to try and was asking for permission to do it.)

    Here's also my original example:

    Let us go! This means we WANT to go.
    The same way "let us wait" must imply we WANT to wait.

    My only problem is that I can't think of a situation where someone would WANT to wait. Waiting is always negative to me and I think nobody ever would opt to wait if it's not necessary.
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    In those situations, you're using what is sometimes called the "first person plural imperative", usually abbreviated to "Let's".

    "Let's wait" would mean something like "I suggest we wait" - in other words, "let's not go immediately - let's stay here a bit longer".
  12. tomtombp Senior Member

    Here's an imaginary situation: Someone is waiting in line. The one standing ahead of him offers him to go ahead. He replies: "No, thanks, just 'let me wait'. I love waiting. I'm enjoying it so much":)

    Could you imagine that? Is that what "let me/us wait" means?
  13. tomtombp Senior Member

    Or "Let's wait to see what happens." That's absolutely fine. But what about "let me wait" as in my example above? Maybe "let me wait to see what happens" can also work. So I think the meaning is clear to me. It's just not used very often.
  14. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    It could easily be used as a milder form of "don't make us wait", more in the meaning of "don't have us wait".

    "Don't let us wait around here all morning playing cards when we could be working for you."

    "Let me wait in your office" is a very common type of phrase.
  15. tomtombp Senior Member

    Great examples! Thanks for your help, Verisalius and Loob.

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