"allow for a little leeway" or "allow a little leeway", which one is a right expression?

Maybe both expression are correct?


Allow a little leeway has many more results on a Google book search than allow for a little leeway.

This includes results from Barron's How to prepare for the GRE, The Pirate Dictionary and Professional Proposal Writing. So I know which construction I would use if I needed to use leeway.

Since leeway can mean 'A margin of freedom or variation, as of activity, time, or expenditure; latitude,' it is used in the same manner as 'room'. In the third book above, there is also the usage should you allow room in the bolded heading on the same page. And a Google search for allow a little room gives many more results than allow for a little room.

One gets the same overwhelming numbers for allow a little time as compared to allow for a little time.

EDIT: Allows a little leeway returns 191 results in Google Books, incuding many that have a non-person as the subject (ie a lot of results with subject it and this); allows for a little leeway returns 25 results.

The question has been marked as duplicate; apparently allows and allows for follow certain rules, without regard to the noun that follows.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I think the trend is "people" allow (leeway and such), but "things" (such as plans, strategies, and so on) allow for (leeway and such). I'm not sure if that's absolutely true, though. – Damkerng T. Jan 18 '15 at 11:51
  • @δοῦλος Thank you for your answer, I'll use allow a little leeway. But I'm not yet sure if allow for a little leeway is a correct sentence that is used rarely, or that is commonly used grammatical mistake. – ironsand Jan 19 '15 at 3:07
  • Note my edit regarding the search resukts for allows. – user6951 Jan 19 '15 at 3:39
  • 1
    I would say "allow for leeway" is a confusion between "allow leeway" and "allow room FOR {human error/ waste/ machining variations". The leeway is room for something variable in size. In other words, the leeway is something you SET so as to allow for something else; you don't have to "allow for" the leeway itself. That's why it sounds wrong to you, semantically. – Brian Hitchcock Jan 19 '15 at 5:04
  • likewise for "clearance" and "margin" – Brian Hitchcock Jan 19 '15 at 5:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.