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    #1

    "let alone" or "not to mention"

    My dictionary says that "let alone" means "not to mention", but the corpus data indicate that "let alone" is generally used after a negative-meaning sentence, whereas "not to mention" does not have such a constraint. So my question is
    1. Our years of hard work are all in vain, let alone the large amounts of money we have spent.
    2. Our years of hard work are all in vain, not to mention the large amounts of money we have spent.

    Which of the above sentences is correct? or both are correct?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by eeshu View Post
    My dictionary says that "let alone" means "not to mention", but the corpus data indicate that "let alone" is generally used after a negative-meaning sentence, whereas "not to mention" does not have such a constraint. So my question is
    1. Our years of hard work are all in vain, let alone the large amounts of money we have spent.
    2. Our years of hard work are all in vain, not to mention the large amounts of money we have spent.

    Which of the above sentences is correct? or both are correct?
    I don't like either of them.

  2. Khosro's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I don't like either of them.
    What is your suggestion bhaisahab, please?

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    #4

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I don't like either of them.
    Then could you please exercise your intuition and tell me in which of the following sentences "let alone" is unacceptable or inappropriate? Why?
    1. Such consequences, let alone the contamination of soil and crop, have led some farmers to adopt the so-called ďrationalĒ approach to pesticide use.
    2. I havenít decided on the menu yet, let alone bought the food.
    3. I wouldnít speak to him, let alone trust him and lend him some money.
    4. Itís insane to do one film about a rock band, let alone two.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by eeshu View Post
    Then could you please exercise your intuition and tell me in which of the following sentences "let alone" is unacceptable or inappropriate? Why?
    1. Such consequences, let alone the contamination of soil and crop, have led some farmers to adopt the so-called ďrationalĒ approach to pesticide use.
    2. I havenít decided on the menu yet, let alone bought the food.
    3. I wouldnít speak to him, let alone trust him and lend him some money.
    4. Itís insane to do one film about a rock band, let alone two.
    I agree with bhai about the original sentences. But all of the above are OK.
    You could use "not to mention" for 1, but not the others.

    "let alone" does not [always] mean "not to mention".

  4. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    ***not a teacher***


    Also, I suppose "never mind" is an equivalent to "let alone", especially in BrE.

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    #7

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I agree with bhai about the original sentences. But all of the above are OK.
    You could use "not to mention" for 1, but not the others.

    "let alone" does not [always] mean "not to mention".
    Then how should I complete the original sentence?
    1. Our years of hard work are all in vain, not to speak of the large amounts of money we have spent.
    2. Our years of hard work are all in vain, to say nothing of the large amounts of money we have spent.
    3. Our years of hard work, let alone the large amounts of money we have spent, are all in vain.
    4. Our years of hard work, not to mention the large amounts of money we have spent, are all in vain.

    And I guess the reason why "let alone" in sentences 2, 3 and 4 cannot be replaced by "not to mention" is that "not to mention" only takes nominal complements as stipulated in some usage books. However, how could you justify the following sentence I find, in which "not to mention" precedes a verb?
    It’s impossible for me to go to Green’s party tonight. I’ve got to babysit for my sister, not to mention write a book report and prepare for an exam.
    Last edited by eeshu; 02-Feb-2011 at 04:20.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by eeshu View Post
    Then how should I complete the original sentence?
    1. Our years of hard work are all in vain, not to speak of the large amounts of money we have spent.
    2. Our years of hard work are all in vain, to say nothing of the large amounts of money we have spent.
    3. Our years of hard work, let alone the large amounts of money we have spent, are all in vain.
    4. Our years of hard work, not to mention the large amounts of money we have spent, are all in vain.

    I don't much like the phrase "not to mention" simply to introduce things that you do
    mention. 2. would be my choice from the above, if I had to pick one. 3. is definitely wrong.

    And I guess the reason why "let alone" in sentences 2, 3 and 4 cannot be replaced by "not to mention" is that "not to mention" only takes nominal complements as stipulated in some usage books.
    No, that's not the reason. Besides that's wrong, as demonstrated by your correct sentence below.

    However, how could you justify the following sentence I find, in which "not to mention" precedes a verb?
    Itís impossible for me to go to Greenís party tonight. Iíve got to babysit for my sister, not to mention write a book report and prepare for an exam.
    This sentence is OK. "not to mention" is used when the extra information is not necessary to make the main sentence true. So, having to babysit for your sister is enough to make it impossible for you to attend the party. The other things, while true, are not necessary to mention as a reason for not going to the party.


    The problem I have with the original sentence is that the additional thing it mentions does add something important, which does bear mentioning and has nothing to do with the hard work being in vain.

    This would be a good sentence: "The large amount of money we spent, not to mention the all the hard work we did in vain, was enough to destroy the company."
    R.

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    #9

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Then how about this one "Our years of hard work are all in vain, in addition to the large amounts of money we have spent."

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    #10

    Re: "let alone" or "not to mention"

    Quote Originally Posted by eeshu View Post
    Then how about this one "Our years of hard work are all in vain, in addition to the large amounts of money we have spent."
    No, I wouldn't use "in addition to" either.
    I know this doesn't solve the problem of those phrases, but the most appropriate way to say this is, "The years of hard work and the large amounts of money we've spent were all in vain."
    "and" is quite sufficient. There's no need for a fancier phrase.
    If you really have to choose a fancy phrase, your original sentence 2. would be acceptable to most people. I still don't like it though. Maybe if there was more context relating to the effects of the hard work being in vain, and the relative unimportance of the money spent, it would sound better.

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