When a teacher sees his student play with a phone while having class, and the teacher doesn't want the student to that, can he say "Leave it please" (in meaning of not holding it in hands) instead of "Put it away please"

Reading Cambridge dictionary definitions for the word "leave" doesn't give me the confidence for using it in this meaning.


You could be more emphatic.

Leave it please

kind of works, but it doesn't really imply a command, more a request. A teacher ought to be more specific in their demand that it needs to be put down now.

There are many idioms associated with 'leave' as you will have seen from that dictionary entry, but perhaps one of these would work...

Leave it alone

Idiomatically, don't touch it. Implies 'put it down now & don't pick it up again'


Leave it be

Perhaps more archaic & might best be left to natives for most usages, but in effect is the same as 'leave it alone'


Leave X can mean exit the area X, but it can also mean to go/stay away from X.

While X is usually a place, or a person, it can also be a smaller item or object.

So it implies walking away and getting a significant distance from X when X is a place, but if X is a small item then the distance can be short, especially if you tell someone to leave it there or leave it on the desk (example).

Leave can also be used like this:

  • leave X alone = ignore X
  • leave X be = stop bothering X
  • leave X out = don't put X away
  • leave X Y = don't change X's state from Y

The student may be allowed to have the phone for emergencies, and thus need to see it, but the teacher simply doesn't want the student doing anything with it.


  • Commands with fewer words are less polite and more demanding sounding, so leave X without the last word may be something you say firmly to someone who is being difficult and should know what you mean. But then you might want to tack on a "please" at the end so you don't sound too harsh.

So it's not unreasonable to use leave in the way it's used in your question.

  • Thank you^1+, but while I do understand what it means "Leave X alone" etc. I do not understand what does it mean "leave X Y" – Judicious Allure Jun 21 '18 at 14:40
  • E.g. Please leave the stove on when you're done. – LawrenceC Jun 21 '18 at 15:08
  • So X refers to place while Y refers to time? – Judicious Allure Jun 21 '18 at 15:13
  • leave X Y = don't change "the stove"'s state from "on". There isn't a fixed thing that X and Y can be in that example. – LawrenceC Jun 21 '18 at 15:21

"Leave it" can be used to tell someone not to do something, in cases, when that someone hasn't started doing it, yet. But that is a very specific situation and context. Also, with that meaning, I have never seen it with a "please", because it is more an order than a plea.

So, in your example, it can't be used instead of "Put it away please".

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