He let <it> slip that ...

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loviii

Senior Member
Russian
Greetings!

"let slip", ru.wiktionary.org:
(1) He let slip that he was in the midst of finalising two big deals.
"let it slip", ldoceonline.com:
(2) He let it slip that they were planning to get married.

Can I say the way around:
(3) He let it slip that he was in the midst of finalising two big deals.
(4) He let slip that they were planning to get married.

Before, I thought if “it” is an anticipatory object that anticipates that-clause, then it must be obligatory and we cannot remove it as it's done in (1).
How to explain in terms of grammar that we can both use "it" and not use "it"?

Thanks!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Before, I thought if “it” is an anticipatory object that anticipates that-clause, then it must be obligatory and we cannot remove it as it's done in (1).
    This idea generally makes sense, but you have found an exception to the idea in the idiom "let slip". As Keith told you, it is nothing to worry about.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, you can freely use either let slip or let it slip with a that-clause.

    You can also use let it slip on its own (typically in the sense of inadvertently giving away a secret).

    And you can say things like “he was afraid of letting something slip” or “she was careful not to let anything slip”.

    What you can’t easily do is state what you’re letting slip as the direct object of the verb “slip”. But this is possible in a few instances, such as:

    The police officer accidentally let slip the name of the defendant.
    He let slip the fact of his involvement.
    He let slip the fact that…
    Don’t let slip what you really think of him!
     
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