Is it correct to say "I allowed my son go to the movies" instead of "I allowed my son to go to the movies"?
As a rule of thumb, if a verb allows an object infinitive complement without to,
then it's very likely to be a short verb of Germanic origin.
(Basically, these are the ones that have been around for long enough to get their edges worn off)
E.g, let, make, have, go, come, see, hear, watch
A verb like allow, which comes from French, is excluded,
even though it means the same thing as let.
So allow requires the infinitive complementizer to
with an infinitive complement, while let does not even allow it.
- He allowed me to inspect the seal.
- *He allowed me inspect the seal.
- *He let me to inspect the seal.
- He let me inspect the seal.
*before an example sentence indicates that the sentence is ungrammatical.
The origin is from Old French alouer ("to grant"). It is here twice transitive for the recipient and the thing, but "to go to ..." is considered as a whole, and you can't suppress the first to.
It is still very common in French but written allouer: Une pension est allouée aux retraités. ("A benefit is granted to retired people.")
The same word was used with the meaning "approve of."
It is still very common in French but became louer: Il loue ces succès. ("He praises these achievements.")