'Let alone' in affirmative construction

Microctg

Senior Member
India
'I don't have a mobile, let alone a laptop.' (I understand)

But in affirmative construction:

I have a mobile, let alone a laptop.

Does it mean?: I have a mobile, even (I have) a laptop also.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    'I don't have a mobile, let alone a laptop.' (I understand)

    But in affirmative construction:

    I have a mobile, let alone a laptop.

    Does it mean?: I have a mobile, even (I have) a laptop also.
    Have you heard someone say this? I would say it was an error!
     

    Microctg

    Senior Member
    India
    It doesn't mean anything, because don't use that construction.
    I found several examples in affirmative construction:

    1. "I believe you are mature enough to know the good from the bad, let alone to choose a good goal of your life."

    2. "... in many situations, the scientist is fortunate to be able to demonstrate proximate causes for the changes, let alone ultimate causes."

    Kindly explain these to me.
     
    2. means: In many situations, the scientist is fortunate to be able to demonstrate proximal causes, leaving aside from consideration, the more difficult task of demonstrating ultimate causes.

    The words in italics are implied, I believe.

    Here's a nice example from usingenglish dot com:

    Such consequences, let alone the contamination of soil and crop, have led some farmers to adopt the so-called “rational” approach to pesticide use.

    Some source give 'not to mention' as equivalent. 'leaving aside', as I mentioned above, also works.

    Collins online has this definition and example {positive}.

    COBUILD Advanced British English Dictionary

    coordinating conjunction phrase & phrase;

    Let alone is used after a statement, usually a negative one, to indicate that the statement is even more true of the person, thing, or situation that you are going to mention next. [emphasis] never mind

    ⇒ It is incredible that the 12-year-old managed to even reach the pedals, let alone drive the car.



     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Would you actually use it like that bennymix? Of the examples in posts #4, 5 and 6, the only one that works for me is "It is incredible that the 12-year-old managed to even reach the pedals, let alone drive the car." That passes the "not only but also" test where the "but also" item is clearly more extreme than the "not only" item

    This "I believe you are mature enough to know the good from the bad, let alone to choose a good goal of your life." comes from a page full of errors - E-books. It makes no sense to me.

    Turning to "in many situations, the scientist is fortunate to be able to demonstrate proximate causes for the changes, let alone ultimate causes", I was unable to find this text through a Google search, using either the whole text or fragments of it. It's a misuse of "let alone" for me. Where did you find it, Microctg?

    Such consequences, let alone the contamination of soil and crop, have led some farmers to adopt the so-called “rational” approach to pesticide use.
    I find that odd, and would need the surrounding context before I could see it as having any chance of being an appropriate use of "let alone".

    Consider: My son avoids doing dishes, let alone mowing the lawn. It's positive in grammar, but negative in concept
    I've considered it, but it would never pass my lips, the tip of my pen, or my keyboard. :eek: :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You can perhaps think about expressions like (even) more so rather than use let alone.

    The subject is challenging at undergraduate level, and even more so at postgraduate level.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    What do you think of the concept, though, Andy. Grammatically positive sentence, but negative concept-- wherein 'let alone' fits.
    As I said, the boy reaching the pedals is fine. My "not only but also" test where the "but also" item is clearly more extreme than the "not only" item is, I think, the same as
    You can perhaps think about expressions like (even) more so rather than use let alone.
    This passes my test: "The subject is challenging at undergraduate level, let alone at postgraduate level." although I'd prefer "The subject is challenging at undergraduate level, and even more so at postgraduate level."
     
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