I started not to let them in

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SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
1) [I had been letting them in before and then] I started not to let them in. ~ 2) I stopped letting them in.

Would you be so kind as to tell me how 1) sounds and whether it is acceptable?

Thanks.
 
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    (1) is different in meaning from (2). (1) allows for the practice of letting some in but not others, as well as the practice of excluding all. It is standard English.
    It is equivalent to 'I started refusing entry' (which again does not differentiate between selective refusal and total refusal).
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Perhaps it's the formatting, but I understood the introduction to apply to both sentences:

    I had been letting them in before and then ...
    1) I started not to let them in.
    2) I stopped letting them in.

    3) I started refusing (them) entry. (from wandle).

    I think they all mean the same thing in this circumstance, but I would only use 2 and 3 in the scenarios that come to mind.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Perhaps it's the formatting, but I understood the introduction to apply to both sentences:
    I had been letting them in before and then ...
    I feel sure the introduction applies to both.
    However, the introduction is ambiguous: 'letting them in' could mean all comers, or a selection, are being admitted.

    It seems to me that, when all comers are being stopped, 'I stopped letting them in' is more likely to be used; and that when a selection only are being stopped, 'I started not to let them in' is much more likely.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    That sounds possible, although I would probably phrase it some other way if I wanted a little clarity about who I was letting in. :)

    I had been letting them all in, before I started being more selective.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    :confused: Maybe I am missing something, but I really have no idea why Wandle thinks 'letting them in' may refer to a selection of comers. For me it clearly and unequivocally means 'all comers'.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It depends who 'them' refers to. That depends on the context. For example:

    'I had been told to use my discretion when the crowd got too big. By nine o'clock, I felt I had to keep out the noisier elements. I had been letting them in before and then I started not to let them in. However, some then became angry because they had been kept out while others were still being admitted'.

    The expression 'started not to let them in' may seem awkward, but it does seem to me to chime with the idea of selection in this suggested context.
     
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