Why did the rich man let John marry his daughter?


Why did the rich man let John married his daughter?

What the different in meaning between these 2 questions?


2 Answers 2


There is no difference in meaning, in the sense that only one has a meaning to speak of. One is a correct, standard sentence, and the other is incorrect according to the generally understood grammar of any dialect with which I am familiar.

The indirect object of this sense of let, or similar senses of make or have (and some others) is a bare infinitive phrase. That means that it uses the infinitive form of the verb, without to, but has its own object(s), adverbs, prepositional phrases etc. It can create ambiguity with prepositional phrases - it can be unclear if they apply to let etc. or to the verb in the object.

Do not use the second question. It will make it clear that you don't know English very well.


In English, the "Why did" part of the sentences makes all of the actions (actions are the verbs for things that a person did) automatically be descriptions of things in the past, so you don't have to use the past tense for those. People who are used to reading English might find the second sentence strange and confusing because of that. The first sentence is better.

  • That did certainly puts the main verb (let) into the past tense, but there's a more overriding reason why marry is in the present tense that would apply if another past tense were used, like "he has let John marry..." or "he let John marry...".
    – SamBC
    Mar 6, 2019 at 15:33

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