English Vocabulary

let alone

could you please explain me the difference between

"let alone", "never mind" and last but not least: "not to mention"


  • could you please explain me the difference between

    "let alone", "never mind" and last but not least: "not to mention"
  • Hi Gwendo!

    LET ALONE is used after a negative statement to emphasise how unlikely a situation is [because something much more likely has never happened].
    EX.She can' afford to buy a bicyle,let alone (=certainly not)a car
    Some people never read a newspaper, let alone a book.

    Never mind (don't pay attention to) the price, just look at the quality
    He is going on holiday for the third time this year, never mind (= despite the fact that)he has hardly any money left.

    NOT TO MENTION is used when you want to emphasize something that you are adding to a list to make what you are saying stronger.
    EX.He is one of the most intelligent, not to mention handsome,people I know

    Not easy. I hope it helps. If I spoke German, I would translate these expressions but my German has faded away in the distance...
  • I think you came into your own, Gwendo, with throwing the last example from the Oxford Dico.

    As for me I made up a sort of mnemonic to catch the sense of NEVER MIND used as LET ALONE or NOT TO MENTION.
    I just think of the meaning of the verb TO MIND.
    To mind (short for to remind) > To be aware of, to closely attend to, to think of, to give heed to.....
    "Mind you!" : "Pay attention!"
    "Never mind" coming at the beginning of a say: never think about it, don't take care...

    In the same way:
    I never thought she'd win once, never mind twice.
    = I never thought she'd win once, (a fortiori) I'd never THOUGHT she'd win twice.

    Thank you for providing the late October sun. Be careful not to bump into an evil jack-o'-lantern.
  • I hastily posted my writings without noticing Silky had just answered with her outstanding competence. Thank you Silky.
  • Thank you, Gwendo, for posting a topic that makes us think about. Here are the provisional results of my search and thought.


    "let alone" is normally an idiom operating as a preposition and meaning "to say nothing of";
    I think the idiom introduces a step further in the thought.
    Lacking the courage, let alone the skills, to be effecitve (Webster's)
    He can't read, let alone write (Robert & Collins)
    We have no room for another house guest, let alone an entire family. [c. 1800] (Answers.com)
    I cannot speak, let alone make a speech.
    I couldn't walk, let alone stand up.
    Lacking for time, let alone for knowledge, I though try to bring a follow-up to Gwendo's question.

    All sentences I can hear, read or imagine bring a negative sense (not necessary a grammatical negation), as if "let alone" should mean "even less" (adverb)
    I wonder whether one could hear something going this way: "He was offered a reward, let alone a special prize."

    Whereas "not to mention" for sure hasn't that particularity of a LESS. the idiom just mean "In addition to, besides what's already been said." (http://www.answers.com/topic/not-to-mention)

    She is a good girl, not to mention she is clever.
    It took a lot of time, not to mention the cost.
    I for one would rather say "He was offered a reward, not to mention a special prize."

    To my mind, most usually, the idiom NEVER MIND doesn't share any meaning with the latter ones.
    It means "don't care about it; it doesn't matter, don't worry about it; it makes no odds; ..."
    Howerever I find in the Robert & Collins that use you for sure were thinking about "He can't walk, never mind run."

    Never mind what I said here above, Gwendo, you possibly know more about that locutions. Tell us, please.
    And if there is anyone out there who has got better information, I'd be pleased to know it.

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