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  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #1

    Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Hi all,
    Can the word 'lest' be replaced by any informal verb or phrasal verb meaning the same? If not, how is the whole sentence paraphrased in everyday English?


    'They were afraid to complain about the noise lest they annoyed the neighbours.'

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    #2

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    'They were afraid to complain about the noise in case they annoyed the neighbours.'

  2. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Thanks a lot! Having this choice, then, do I make sense saying something like the following sentence?

    'The guy didn't say a word in case the police got suspicious of him!'

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks a lot! Having this choice, then, do I make sense saying something like the following sentence?

    'The guy didn't say a word in case the police got suspicious of him!'
    One can also use "for fear that".

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    #5

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    ** NOT A TEACHER **
    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    'They were afraid to complain about the noise lest they annoyed the neighbours.'
    Were I to use "lest", I would use it with the subjunctive. Thus the sentence would read, "They were afraid to complain about the noise lest they annoy the neighbours." I think "should" could also be used: "They were afraid to complain about the noise lest they should annoy the neighbours."
    Dear native English speakers of this forum,
    Please, always point out my grammatical mistakes, assuming you have "the time and the inclination". That is really the most effective way for me to improve. Thank you very much.

    Please note that I am NOT an English teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Native speakers rarely use 'lest'. They prefer to avoid having to think what it should be followed by.

    Type lest in the Google Custom S(earch) box near the top of the page. You will find links to previous discussions of the topic.

  4. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    'They were afraid to complain about the noise (lest they annoyed) not to annoy the neighbours.'
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    'They were afraid to complain about the noise (lest they annoyed) not to annoy the neighbours.'
    I don't know what you meant by this post. How do you propose to put "not to annoy" in this sentence?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I don't know what you meant by this post. How do you propose to put "not to annoy" in this sentence?

    I thought we could substitute "lest" in the given sentence with "(in order) not to" (according to the 1st meaning of the word "lest" in the Longman Dictionary: in order to make sure that something will not happen) . Or can't we?
    lest - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

    I understand it like this: the neighbours of some people produced great noise, but the people didn't complain, because they were afraid that, if they complained about their neighbours' behaviour to someone (authorities, for instance), their neighbours might get angry and annoyed. So the people didn't complain to anyone in order not to make their neighbours annoyed. Can't we use "(in order) not to" here?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 22-Jul-2013 at 20:07.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    I thought we could substitute "lest" in the given sentence with "(in order) not to" (according to the 1st meaning of the word "lest" in the Longman Dictionary: in order to make sure that something will not happen) . Or can't we?
    lest - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

    I understand it like this: the neighbours of some people produced great noise, but the people didn't complain, because they were afraid that, if they complained about their neighbours' behaviour to someone (authorities, for instance), their neighbours might get angry and annoyed. So the people didn't complain to anyone in order not to make their neighbours annoyed. Can't we use "(in order) not to" here?
    That's very clunky. We would probably say "The people didn't complain to anyone so that they didn't annoy the neighbours" or "The people didn't complain to anyone to avoid annoying the neighbours".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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