Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever wondered how to show impact in a sentence in English?

Have you ever heard somebody use the phrase “let alone” and wonder what this meant?

Is this one of those phrases that you can use to help you to make impact?

We’re going to talk about how to use this phrase and what it helps to intensify in a sentence.

Today we have a great listener question about the phrase “let alone”.

Hi to all,

There are so many perfect episodes, so thanks for that guys! By the way recently I used to hear one phrase pretty often which is “let alone”. I could think of what means but I’m not sure.

I’m getting a feeling that it’s important and great to know though. So I would really love it and appreciate it it if you guys could explain it more.

Huge thanks and love from Yemen.


Mastering This Use In A Sentence Is Key

This is a great phrase that can be used in many ways to talk about things you don’t have, can’t do, etc. while being much more specific.

This phrase is all about being specific!

This question is common and so pertinent, as it’s a very natural phrase.

It is used in conversation, but it may be a bit hard to understand at first.

So what does this phrase mean?

Perhaps the easiest way to understand it is by thinking of “and especially not” or “specifically not” in context.

For example, you might say “I barely have time to do yoga, let alone actually go to the gym!”

What Does this Mean?

Basically it means that if I don’t have time for this, then I DEFINITELY don’t have time for that!

The second part of the sentence is more intense.

You tend to see it more in negative sentences where you’re trying to make a real statement with impact.

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Understanding How To Us This In Context

So it helps to know that this tends to be a negative type of phrase, or at least can be in context.

You would use it to talk about definitely not having something, not having something being something, or being able to do something.

It has a lot of different ways to use it in conversation, but there are other alternatives as well.

How Else Can You Say This?

  • Not to mention : This one is more of an add on that could be used in a more positive way or even a more negative way. You might say “I could use a good night’s sleep. Not to mention, a spa day!”
  • Never mind: This one is closer to the first one. It tends to be more likely used in a negative sounding way. You might say “The power went out, never mind all my groceries spoiled in the fridge.”

These phrases make the other half of the sentence more intense or specific in some way.

They can ultimately be used in a positive or negative way, though the tendency is towards the negative.


These phrases are great for narrowing down a point.

What’s important? What do you want to express? Is it positive or negative?

If you want your thoughts to become more intense in a sentence, you can use these phrases to do it.

This is one of those aspects of conversation that you just have to practice to get the hang of.

Remember it’s about making Connection NOT Perfection–this is a great way to master this concept in your conversations.

If you have any questions, leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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