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" I held her hand lest she should fall."

Can we use the lest...should construction in the present and future tenses as given below ?

" I am holding her hand lest she should fall."

" I shall hold her hand lest she should fall."
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Hi Debpriya,

The word 'lest' is somewhat outdated for contemporary writing unless you are composing fiction that takes place in the 1700s.

If you want to use the word, I would say "I held her hand lest she fall." It would be awkward and unnecessary to say lest she should fall.

You could say "I am holding her hand in case she should fall." But i think a better way would be to say: "I am holding her hand so she doesn't fall" or "I am holding her hand because I am afraid she might fall."

Best wishes,
TrysB
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I use it frequently -- often when I come home from grocery shopping, I remark (to myself, the cats or anyone else within range) "I'd better put the perishables away, lest they perish!"

NOTE to English learners -- I really do say this, but I say it as a joke. "Perish" is about as old-fashioned as "lest," although groceries that need to be refrigerated so they won't spoil are actually called "perishables."
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Thanks for your help TrysB and welcome to the forumsEmotion: smile, but the thing is the lest...should construction is still part of our curriculum in schools and colleges in India, so we have to be aware of the rules governing this construction. But you're right ,we don't use it in normal conversation.
Debpriya De" I held her hand lest she should fall."
Can we use the lest...should construction in the present and future tenses as given below ?

" I am holding her hand lest she should fall."

" I shall hold her hand lest she should fall."

The tense doesn't make any difference.

On another topic, however, you and your colleagues should consider lobbying the powers that be about changing your curriculum to omit the old-fashioned usage. Nowadays, even though you can read it in older works, you can go a hundred years without hearing the word lest. Emotion: smile

CJ
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Thanks for clarifying .
 khoff's reply was promoted to an answer.
khoffI'd better put the perishables away, lest they perish!
Ooph! I just inhaled my mashed potatoes! Snort, snort!

CJ
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