let, lets and let's - the difference
The Quick AnswerTo 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 LetsThe 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
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.
- This is a holiday let.
- There are a few lets on this estate.
- She is prepared to let this building for six months.
- This building is to let.
- She lets several houses in the area.
- 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'sThe 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.