In the last post, I mentioned that the more obvious definition of “to let down” is to bring something down.
The less obvious meaning is the more abstract meaning of to disappoint. It is a transitive verb requiring both a subject and object. The noun form is letdown.
The movie was a letdown. (Equivalent meaning: The movie was a disappointment.)
To talk about who has been disappointed, the object must be inserted between let down. If the object is a personal pronoun, it will be in the objective case.
The movie let me down. (Equivalent meaning: The movie disappointed me.)
Besides the progressive form, the verb let down does not inflect for tense or change for subject-verb agreement.
His son was afraid of letting him down. (Equivalent meaning: His son was afraid of disappointing him.)
The movie let him down.
The two movies let him down.
To talk about a habitual disappointment, just add “has/have/had” in front:
He has let me down every time. (Equivalent meaning: He has disappointed me every time.)
They have let me down every time. (Equivalent meaning: They have disappointed me every time.)
You could use let down to talk about the future also:
I hope you could attend the conference with me this Saturday. You won’t/will not let me down, right? (Equivalent meaning: You will not disappoint me, right?)
At this point, you might ask why English speakers use to let down instead of to disappoint or letdown instead of disappointment. Like all phrasal verbs, to let down is used in informal settings. Learning how to use it properly will make your speech more personable. Being able to comprehend it will allow you to communicate with native speakers, who use them all the time! Besides, letdown only has two syllables while disappointment has four!