Actually, that's the first thing I was asking about. Is it an introductory particle or a modal auxiliary? The Polish word is called a particle.
I've always used 'particle' as a cop-out to avoid deciding whether the non-verb thingies in phrasal/prepositional/multi-word/whatever verbs are prepositions or adverbs - and a very useful cop-out it is.
I am not convinced that 'let' and/or 'let's' are in the same category.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
Apparently it depends on what book you choose to believe.
American and British copyright laws are very strict, so I shall be
as careful as possible in quoting them.
Professor Quirk and colleagues write:
This type of imperative, in which let is no more than
an introductory particle [e.g., Let us/let's go], should be kept
separate from the ordinary 2nd imperative of let as a
transitive verb [Let us go. = Permit us to go].
(By the way, Professor Quirk also says that let's is particle-like. He
points out that Americans can say:
Let's us ....
Let's you ....
Therefore, he concludes: In "let's," the 's NO LONGER is
associated with us.)
Professor Curme writes this:
Instead of the simple form of the subjunctive [e.g., Climb we not
too high] we now usually employ here the modern form with the
UNSTRESSED [my emphasis] modal auxiliary let ( originally the
STRESSED [my emphasis] imperative of the verb let = allow, permit)
and a dependent infinitive.
Professor Curme points out the difference in:
Tom: There is a man at the door [who] wants to see you.
Martha: Let him COME IN!/ LET him come in!
P.S. I am guessing that "Let him COME IN!" was
"Come he in" when the subjunctive was being used in the
Thanks for the information, Parser, I shall sleep on it.
By the way, don't worry too much about infringing copyright laws in this sort of discussion. Provided you acknowledge your source (as you do), this type of citation is considered legitimate. If you want to make assurance double sure, cite the source in full:
Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey and Svartik, Jan (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London: Longman
Curme, George O. (1931) Syntax, Boston: Heath
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
After carefully reading this thread, checking my books, and googling,
perhaps I can offer some tentative conclusions about "Let
him cast the first stone." (For easier analysis, I have deleted
"who is without sin.")
(1) The "correct" pronoun is "him."
(2) Some people say "Let he .....
(a) They feel in their gut that "he" is the subject of "cast"
rather than the object of "let."
(i) They may unconsciously be following older English.
Quite possibly, older English would have stated it as:
Cast he the first stone. (older subjunctive)
(3) Many sources say that we can, indeed, consider in
this kind of sentence that "let" is an auxiliary verb.
(4) It is probably too simplified, but I remember reading
somewhere that such a sentence could be diagrammed as:
Him (subject) + let (auxiliary) + cast (infintive) + the first stone
Thank you for making all of us think about this matter.
P.S. I plan to post a question in our wonderful diagramming