Let, Lets, and Let's

Our Story

Let, Lets, and Let's

What is the difference between "let," "lets," and "let's"?
  • To Let. "To let" means to allow or to rent out.
    • Let me have go.
    • (Here, "let" means allow.)
    • He lets three apartments in New York.
    • (Here, "lets" means rents out.)
  • Let and Lets. "A let" means a nullified play in sport or a rented property. (The plural is "lets.")
    • If the serve clips the net, the referee calls a let.
    • I have one let down town and two lets in the suburbs.
  • Let's. "Let's" (with an apostrophe) is a contraction of "let us," which is similar in meaning to "we should."
    • Let's go fishing.
    • Let's bring the washing in before dinner.
lets, let, or let's

More about "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 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) 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.
(2) A rented property (as a noun):
  • This is a holiday let.
  • There are a few lets on this estate.
(3) 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.
(4) 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)

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.
  • 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)
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.
(2) to encourage
  • We can win this game. Let's go!
(3) to express impatience
  • I've had enough. Let's go.
(4) to accept a challenge
  • Okay, buster. You're annoying me now. Let's go.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

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? What are nouns? What are verbs? Commas with the vocative case List of easily confused words