Today, we are going to look at the verbs “let,” “allow” and “permit.” All three of these verbs can be used to mean “to give permission” or “to make it possible to do something.” However, there are some differences between these three verbs. “Let” sounds the most casual. “Allow” sounds more formal than “let.” “Permit” sounds the most formal. Compare the following examples:
・The movie theater does not allow people to bring in food or drinks from outside.
・This city does not permit smoking in public areas.
In terms of structure, there are also some differences between “let,” “allow” and “permit.”
“Let” uses the structure “let + (object) + (infinitive)”. Here are some
・We don’t let our children watch television after dinner.
・I’m going to let you borrow my car tomorrow.
“Permit” and “allow” use the structure “allow/permit + (object) + (to infinitive).”
・My office does not allow us to make personal calls from the office phone.
・Immigration will not permit people to enter the country without a passport.
“Permit” and “allow” can also be followed by a gerund or noun.
・My apartment building does not allow pets.
・The department store only permits parking during business hours.