let, lets and let's - the difference

Our most common search themes:
apostrophe
semicolon
adjective
verb


To let can mean to allow or to rent out. As you'd expect, it goes: I let, you let, he lets, etc.

A let can be a nullified play in sport or a rented property. As you'd expect, the plural is lets.

Let's (with an apostrophe) is a contraction of let us. It is similar in meaning to we should.

Let 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 goes:
  • I let
  • you let
  • he/she/it lets
  • we let
  • you let
  • they let
Below are the meanings for let:

A play usually in racket/racquet sports) which is nullified and has to be played again.
  • The ball touched the top of the net causing a let.
  • There have been three lets on this serve so far.
A rented property (as a noun):
  • This is a holiday let.
  • There are a few lets on this estate.
To rent a property (as a verb):
  • She is prepared to let this building for six months.
  • This building is to let.
  • She lets several houses in the area.
To allow:
  • He let the dog lick his lollipop.
  • Paula lets him cook the dinner on Fridays.
  • The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore. (Samuel Butler, 1835-1902)
  • There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. (Graham Greene)

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]. For example:
  • Let's go fishing.
  • Let's have a party. Oh yes, let's.
  • Let's have a party if mum lets us.
  • I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. (Solomon Short)
  • Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go." (Maya Angelou)

A slogan on a T shirt highlighting the importance of commas.
Unfortunately, it should say let's not lets. Ooops.
 
 


More Free Help...

All the lessons and tests on Grammar Monster are free. Here's some more free help:

Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook
by Craig Shrives Follow us on Google+
mail tip Sign up for our daily tip emails
Chat about grammar Ask a grammar question
Search Search this site

Buy Some Help...

Too busy to read everything on Grammar Monster? Here are the paid services we recommend to learn grammar and to keep your writing error free:

Paste your text into Grammarly's online interface for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Press F2 while using Word, PowerPoint, etc., for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Send your text to a trained editor and grammar geek for checking. (Free trial available)

Learn English (or another language) with a state-of-the-art program. (Free trial available)

Buy Our Book...

Buy "Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precision" by Craig Shrives (founder of Grammar Monster).


More info...