Lets or Let's?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Lets" and "Let's"?

"Lets" and "let's" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • Lets. "Lets" means allows or rents out. For example:
    • Sarah lets me feed her pony. correct tick
    • (Here, "lets" means allows. It is from "to let" meaning to allow.)
    • Sean lets three apartments in New York. correct tick
    • (Here, "lets" means rents out. It is from "to let" meaning to rent out.)
  • Lets. "Lets" also means nullified plays in sport or rented properties. (The singular form is "let.") For example:
    • The serve clipped the net again. There have been two lets in this game so far. correct tick
    • I have one let down town and two lets in the suburbs. correct tick
  • Let's. "Let's" (with an apostrophe) is a contraction of "let us," which is similar in meaning to "we should." For example:
    • Let's go! correct tick
    • Let's bring the washing in before dinner. correct tick
lets, let, or let's

More about "Lets" and "Lets"

The word "let" has several meanings. It can be a noun or a verb.

As a noun (e.g., a holiday let), it has the plural "lets" (e.g., three holiday lets). As a verb in the present tense, it conjugates as follows:
PersonPersonal PronounConjugation of "To Let"
First Person Singular I let
Second Person Singular you let
Third Person Singular he/she/it lets
First Person Plural we let
Second Person Plural you let
Third Person Plural they let
Below are the four common meanings for "let":

(1) A play usually in racket/racquet sports) that is nullified and has to be played again.
  • The ball touched the top of the net causing a let. correct tick
  • There have been three lets on this serve so far. correct tick
(2) A rented property (as a noun):
  • This is a holiday let. correct tick
  • There are a few lets on this estate. correct tick
(3) To rent a property (as a verb):
  • She is prepared to let this building for six months. correct tick
  • This building is to let. correct tick
  • She lets several houses in the area. correct tick
(4) To allow:
  • He let the dog lick his lollipop. correct tick
  • Paula lets him cook the dinner on Fridays. correct tick
  • The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore. correct tick (Novelist Samuel Butler)
  • There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. correct tick (Writer Graham Greene)

More about "Let's"

The word "let's" is a contraction of "let us." "Let's [do something]" is close in meaning to "We should [do something]."

Example sentences with "let's":
  • Let's go fishing. correct tick
  • Let's have a party. Oh yes, let's. correct tick
  • Let's have a party if mum lets us. correct tick
  • I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. correct tick (Author Solomon Short)
  • Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go." correct tick (Poet Maya Angelou)
spelling error with lets
A slogan on a T shirt highlighting the importance of commas.
Unfortunately, it should say "let's" not "lets." Ooops.

Let's Go or Lets Go?

The term is "let's go!" In other words, "let's go" has an apostrophe. "Let's go" is used to mean the following:

(1) to depart
  • Time's up. Let's go. correct tick
(2) to encourage
  • We can win this game. Let's go! correct tick
(3) to express impatience
  • I've had enough. Let's go. correct tick
(4) to accept a challenge
  • Okay, buster. You're annoying me now. Let's go. correct tick

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? Commas with the vocative case List of easily confused words

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