let up or slow down


Hi, I have found these two phrasal verbs and it's confusing for me to know in which context to use each of them (talking about speed, rain, etc); they seem to be so similar!!!

Are they synonims? can I use them interchangeably?

  • Masood

    Senior Member
    British English
    They are not really synonyms. It is a question of collocation and choosing the most appropriate phrasal verb for the context.

    The rain is letting up.
    The car is slowing down.


    Senior Member
    USA; English
    True, I wouldn't ever say "the car is letting up" to mean that it is reducing in speed. You might, however, hear "she let up on the gas pedal," which would cause the car to reduce in speed.... Also, I don't think it sounds that strange to say "the rain is slowing down" if it's not raining as hard as it was.

    I think "let up" makes the most sense if you're describing a decrease in volume or intensity, and "slow down" if you're describing a decrease in frequency or speed.

    Hope that helps! Interested to see if other English speakers disagree...


    Senior Member

    These two verbs are not exactly synonyms. To slow down is basically used when you´re talking about reducing speed.

    To let up is used in some different ways. This verb is equivalent to "moderate", "do less" or even "stop". It is specially used when you mean "stop working" or "talking".