Grammar-ease: Let’s Talk about Lets

Let's Do ThisI’ve seen a lot of lets and let’s and different technical pieces I’ve edited in the past couple of weeks, so I thought it would make a good grammar post.

Let’s is the contraction for “let us” (introduces a suggestion or request); whereas lets  means to allow or permit (third-person singular — he/she/it lets).

Let’s see some examples:

  • Let’s go to the beach.
  • My twin sister lets me borrow her clothes.
  • Let’s forget this ever happened, okay?
  • He lets the rabbit run around the house.
  • Let’s go, girls and boys.
  • Bart lets his daughter walk to the bus stop on her own.
  • Let’s consider all the facts before making a decision.
  • The teacher lets his students eat during class.
  • Let’s be kind to one another.
  • Facebook lets you connect with people around the globe.
  • We can forgive, but let’s not forget.

Confusion comes in, I think, with phrasing such as “Let’s you and me get out of here.” since it evolves to “Let us you and me get out of here.” The “you and me” portion can be considered emphasis for specifying who should actually get out of here (if there are more than two people), but overall the wording is a bit of overkill, redundant, a mouthful, and not standard English. You can simply say, “Let’s get out of here.”

Here’s an example of wording that might sound incorrect, but it’s not: Don’t let’s throw away the baby clothes. We can donate them.

In summary:

  • “Let’s” = “let us”.
  • “Lets” is a verb.

What grammar topics are you finding challenging lately?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

8 thoughts on “Grammar-ease: Let’s Talk about Lets

  1. What drives me crazy as a reader/ reviewer is ( apostrophe) s to make it a PLURAL….nope, can’t accept it…..oh, and misspelled words on TV news

  2. Frankly all if it is confusing! Spelling is not my long suit, but grammar comes in second. I purchased Grammarly to try to not make so many mistakes, but sometimes the word it wants me to substitute are funny. I do laugh at the news reported that spout sentences that make no sense. Sounds like “throw mamma from the train a kiss”, Love your blog. Read every sentence. Have always been a lurker, but am getting brave in my old age.

  3. I hate to be the one, but you should have used a different example. “Lets you and me get out of here?” Is slang. It is saying, “Why don’t you and me get out of here? It would always be a question. It would be ‘lets’ not ‘let’s’ because it is asking permission to go someplace different together.

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