The following sentence is from the BBC web site. It is about violence against women in India.

"....There is no support system, few shelter homes and the compensation awarded to abandoned women is a pittance - often in the range of 500 to 1500 rupees, which is not enough for a woman to survive, leave alone feed her children."

The expression "....leave alone her children...." draws my attention, because I think it should be "...let alone feed her children". Since it was written on BBC web site, I needed to double check.

I checked the dictionaries, yes there is a phrase "leave/let someone alone", but it means something different.

Am I right in thinking that it should be "...let alone feed her children". in this sentence?

1 Answer 1


The words are in quotation marks, and are the actual words spoken by a gender activist Madhavi Kuckreja, who is Indian.

You are correct in thinking that 'let alone' is more usual in UK and American English. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage says, however, that “leave alone” is occasionally seen in British English, where it "seems to be only a rather rare variant.". This may be because it is old-fashioned. Many usages which are old-fashioned or now rare in British English persist in Indian English.

...leave alone the fact that she had gone through 'the worst shock of her life'. (Times of India)

Leave alone the fact that the government has made little provision for shelter, migrants say they are running out of food (Indian Express)

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