I never saw him, let alone touch/touched/touching him. Which verb form should I use here? I know that let alone is a marginal coordinator and the verb should be paralleled to the previous construction as in "I can hardly walk, let alone run. I have not read the first chapter, let alone finished the book. (A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language) The problem arises when the sentence has a tense verb only. I found the following sentence in Longman Dictionary. Keeper Judge never touched him let alone trip him. As you can see, the construction does not follow parallelism and it does not have a comma either. All my life I used to know that It must have a comma. Now look at the following sentence taken from The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 1319. Few people [ have seen the document,] [ let alone know what's in it]. They say that the coordination is between finite verb phrases. If coordination between finite verb phrases is possible in this construction, then why not "Keeper Judge never touched him let alone tripped him"?
Original Post

Hello, Saifuddin, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

Saifuddin posted:
Keeper Judge never touched him let alone trip him.

I find the Longman example you have quoted to be ungrammatical, and I would find it so even with a comma before "let alone" and with "tripped" instead of "trip." I would revise it as follows:

  • Keeper Judge didn't even touch him, let alone trip him.

@David Thanks for your reply. Would you mind giving your opinion about the following sentence? 

Few people have seen the document, let alone know what's in it. 

Why not "known"?  Is it wrong if I use known instead of know? 

So far I know the verb must be parallel to the previous construction as in I have not read the first chapter, let alone finished the book. 

Saifuddin posted:

Would you mind giving your opinion about the following sentence? 

Few people have seen the document, let alone know what's in it. 

Why not "known"?  Is it wrong if I use known instead of know?

Well, Saifuddin, in my opinion, it is wrong to use "known" because it would be strange to say, ? "Few people have known what's inside the document." If you want to have the "let alone" parallelism at the level of the past participle, you could change to "(have) known" to "(have) become acquainted with":

  • Few people have seen the document, let alone become acquainted with what's inside it.
Saifuddin posted:
Few people [ have seen the document,] [ let alone know what's in it]. We have finite VPs parallelism here.

Then why not in the sentence 'Keeper Judge never (touched him), let alone (tripped him)'? 

"Few people ever touched him, let alone tripped him" would be fine, as would "Not one person ever touched him, let alone tripped him." The badness of the sentence you so desperately wish worked seems to have to do with "never"; it doesn't bring about negative polarity in a way that accommodates "let alone."

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