Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
    Mehrgan is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,597
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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.'

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    15,315
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Any informal word for 'lest'?

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

  3. #3
    Mehrgan's Avatar
    Mehrgan is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,597
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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!'

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    15,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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".

  5. #5
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Hungarian
      • Home Country:
      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Europe
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    340
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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.

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    15,315
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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.

  7. #7
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,070
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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. :-)

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,816
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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 - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  9. #9
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,070
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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. :-)

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,816
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 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 - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Any informal British word for 'guzzler', please?
    By Mehrgan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-Feb-2013, 13:14
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Jun-2012, 13:27
  3. definition of formal and informal word
    By Ronan Gutierrez Cabillo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 13-Jun-2012, 15:32
  4. formal or informal
    By sky753 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Sep-2010, 07:51
  5. Informal Letter-Need help
    By alianz19 in forum Letter Writing
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-Apr-2009, 13:34

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •