Is there any difference(or nuance) between 'let me go' and 'let go of me'?

In addition, in this sentence 'let go of me' I don't know what function 'of' has?

Rather, in sense of our languge 'let go me' is more natural. Why is this sentence wrong? ('of' and 'as' are the most difficult words to study english in our nation. T.T)

7 Answers 7


'Let go of me' is commanding someone to release you physically, in much the same way that 'Let go of the cup' commands someone to release the cup physically.

'Let me go' can be a physical command, but it can also be a metaphysical command. The difference in terms comes from the fact that someone can have different types of 'hold' on you. They could be physically detaining you, but they may also be holding you through authority and not letting you go to the cinema, for example.


"Let go of me" means release someone, leave their hand or something.

"Let me go" means allow me to go, request a permission from someone to go. (You are free and not clutched from your hand or captive just as "let go of me" but you request for a permission).

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    "let me go" can also mean let me go physically. I'm mentioning this here because your answer could be read as not allowing that meaning. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 23:39

For any x, y,

"y lets go of x" means "y stops holding x."

"y lets x go" means both "y stops holding x" and "y gives x permission to go."

  • Good simple example
    – Scarl
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 14:37
  • Nice answer - if may be worth clarifying that "y lets x go" can mean either or both the meanings you mention. It doesn't have to mean both (at the same time). You can say y let x go even if y wasn't holding x. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 23:55

Yes, they have the same meaning.

let go of - release, as from one's grip

let me go - allow someone or something to escape or go free

But it is precise and concise to use the latter "Let me go".

  • 6
    No, they don't; not quite. You'd wouldn't say "let go of me" if somebody was keeping you prisoner; only if they were physically holding on to you in some way. But if they're grasping you, either one is fine. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 13:36
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    What @PeterShor said. Let me go is asking for or demanding permission to leave (go somewhere else). Let go of me is asking or demanding that someone stop constraining you, typically physically.
    – Drew
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 16:57

This is an interesting question. As a native English speaker, it never occurred to me that the common phrase "let go of me" was so grammatically awkward (by modern standards, anyway). It probably reflects the speech patterns that were common at the time of its origin, which I'm guessing is way back in ye olde days. I can almost make sense of it if I close my eyes and imagine the dialog that might ensue if Shakespeare rudely grabbed someone by the wrist...

Someone: "LET GO!"

Shakespeare: "Would that I possessed the knowledge to fulfill thy command, sir. Yet verily thou hast failed to nameth yon object whereupon I am to act. Prithee tell, of what dost thou speaketh?"

Someone: "'Tis of me that I speaketh! LET GO OF ME!"

(Now that I think about it, I bet there are a whole host of linguistic conundrums that can be solved by imagining someone grappling with Shakespeare). Apologies to anyone who hasn't been exposed to the weird medieval English spoken in Shakespeare's plays-- but hey, my English teachers made me read it, so....

Anyway, back on topic. I'm not entirely sure that there are any literal differences in meaning between the two phrases in question (that is, differences that could be deduced entirely through analysis of grammar and vocabulary, without taking common usage into consideration) although it's clear that they have come to mean two different things to modern English speakers.

In my mind, the command "Let go of me" applies to a subset of the situations in which the command "Let me go" could be used-- specifically, to those situations in which the entity being given the command is physically grasping the command giver. "Let me go" would work equally well in those situations, but it would also work in almost any situation in which the command giver's freedom of movement is being restricted somehow by the command receiver.

The phrase "let go me" would definitely be considered incorrect grammar, even though it appears to contain all of the information necessary to convey the intended meaning. So, why do we need the "of"? Consider the phrase "let go, me!" That is (arguably) a grammatically-correct way of commanding oneself (or someone named Me) to let go, without identifying the object that is to be let go. The phrase "let go of me," on the other hand, identifies the object that is to be acted upon rather than the entity that is to perform the action. So, maybe that's the purpose of the word "of", then-- to indicate that we're referring to the object and not the actor. Except...

Now consider the phrase "release me!" It is correct English, even without the "of". In fact, inserting an "of" would make it incorrect. Yet, somehow the native English speaker understands that it is the object, and not the actor, being referenced. In this case, English follows the exact same grammar rules as the OP's language-- rules that in the previous paragraph were deemed incorrect.

Ultimately, I'm forced to conclude that the phrase "let go of me" is yet another "special case" in a language which, I've been told, is largely comprised of special cases. In general, the word "of" means the same thing as the word "about", so mentally substituting that word (or an equivalent word in your language) may help with comprehension. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any general rule that you can use to determine whether the word "of" should or shouldn't be included in a particular sentence.

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    I'm not sure the faux archaisms really help explain the difference between the two.
    – user230
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 17:03
  • That wasn't the point. The OP asked about more than just the difference between the two phrases-- a fact which everyone else who responded seems to have overlooked. The "faux archaisms" were just my way of speculating about the original purpose of a seemingly awkward use of the word "of", which was the source of the OP's confusion. To be honest, though, I was really just having a bit of fun. Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 20:22

Let go of me means for instance if you're grabbing someone's arm and they wish to be released from your catch, whereas let me go may mean allow me to disappear, possibly from your life forever.


As much as the function of "of" is concerned, my opinion is that this "of" is a misspelling of "off" (such things do occur in the history of written language). The deep structure would be YOU LET YOURSELF GO OFF ME, turned superficially into "let go of me".

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