Which one is more grammatical? Example:

Deformed animals suffer a lot. Why not let them never (to) be born?

  • 2
    BTW, a controversial statement. Maybe they are happy as they are and take life as it comes.
    – user11470
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:19
  • 1
    I would advise you to change your example sentence. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:22
  • FYI, this is a highly offensive notion to most parents with disabled children, to most Christians, or to any who oppose eugenics, which, since WWII, is just about every civilized country Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 15:15
  • Yeah, apologies I couldn't think of another example. How about now?
    – wyc
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 15:47
  • Sounds like a "topic sentence" for a persuasive essay in an English class. The original and the edit sound bog-standard for such an assignment. If it offends, avoid English classes... and Jonathan Swift.
    – Smithers
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 19:44

2 Answers 2


After "let," we never use an infinitive with "to" but always a bare infinitive. Therefore, the option without "to" is better.

That being said, the sentence doesn't make a lot of sense, because there are two negatives in it, which is hard to parse. I think what you mean is something like

Why even allow them to be born?


Why even let them be born?

  • 1
    Your version seems to suggest that maybe we should deprive them of the right to live, whereas the original question seems to suggest that maybe we should give them the right to skip a life of suffering. The difference is huge.
    – JiK
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:30
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    @JiK, there may be a difference in theory, but in practice it appears that the goal is to cause the animals to be stillborn; and since we are talking about animals, it's clear that they would not be the ones doing the choosing. So, pretending that we are giving them input in the choice is misleading or disingenuous.
    – Hellion
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 19:42
  • "Pretending that we are giving them input in the choice" may be the goal of the original question. This is a question about English, not about ethics or logical thinking in ethics.
    – JiK
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 7:32

Why not let them never be born is the correct syntax.

We use the bare infinitive be in certain constructions.

I demand that you be there at 3 o'clock.

Be there by 5 if you want a free toy.

The train may/must/can/will/should/ought to be early.

My first two examples are closest to yours, as they are commands.

The Beatles song "Let it be" follows the same syntax as what you ask about.

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