Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: lease, vb.; let.

lease, vb.; let. “Let” (10th c.) is 300 years older than “lease” (13th c.) in the sense “to grant the temporary possession and use of (land, buildings, rooms, movable property) to another in return for rent or other consideration.” But both are well established, and they are equally good. As used by real estate agents in British English, the term “To Let” is more common than the phrase “For Rent.” The reverse is true in American English. To say that one “leases” property nowadays does not tell the reader or listener whether one is the lessor or the lessee. From its first verbal use in the 13th century, “lease” meant “to grant the possession of.” But in the mid-19th century the word took on the additional sense “to take a lease of; to hold by a lease.” This ambiguity has made the preposition used important to clarity: the lessor “leases to” and the lessee “leases from.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “‘Yesterday’s atrocity becomes commonplace today,’ [Paul] Dickson says, citing the word ‘irregardless,’ which has been considered an assault on the language in many quarters but which is becoming acceptable anyway. ‘Language is a river moving through a canyon. It goes where it wants to go and wears down the landscape.'” Susan Trausch, “English Spoken here . . . Sort Of,” in About Language 171, 174 (William H. Roberts & Gregoire Turgeon eds., 2d ed. 1989). ====================
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