Is It “Lets” or “Let’s”?
Let’s is the contracted form of “let us,” whereas lets is the third-person, singular form of the verb (to) let.
- Let’s go to the party.
- She usually lets me go to parties on my own.
“Lets” vs. “Let’s”
Let’s be real—homophones can be tricky, whether you’re learning the language or are a native English speaker.
Take for example lets and let’s. The only visible difference between them is that one has an apostrophe and the other doesn’t.
But there’s more to it. Below we’ll thoroughly review the definition of lets and let’s, provide example sentences, and show you a foolproof way of testing whether you’re using the correct word.
What Does “Lets” Mean?
Lets is the third-person singular form of the verb (to) let, which means “to permit or allow.” It follows subjects like he, she, and it.
He lets the students leave early if they finish all their work.
She lets me leave the table once I eat all my vegetables.
It lets people in based on the order of arrival.
Keep in mind that “us” can sometimes be found after the word lets and makes complete sense.
My boss lets us go home early on Fridays.
What Does “Let’s” Mean?
Let’s, on the other hand, is a contraction of let us. Let’s has basically overaken let us in speech and writing, as let us is sometimes seen as overly formal.
Too formal: Let us go to the movies.
Less formal: Let’s go to the movies.
Let’s is used to express a suggestion or request or provide encouragement.
Let’s consider all scenarios before we jump to conclusions.
Let’s see what happens when we get there.
Let’s go explore!
Let’s go, team!
It’s also acceptable to write or say “let’s let.” For example:
Let’s let them go in first.
The sentence above is grammatically correct because it means “let us let them go in first.” It’s wordy, yes, which is why most people would naturally go with let’s instead of let us.
How To Make Sure You’re Using The Right Word
All you have to do to ensure you’re using the right word is to replace it with “let us” in a sentence. If it makes sense, let’s is the correct option. If it doesn’t, use lets.
Coach let’s us skip practice if we win the game.
let us us skip practice if we win the game.
Let’s leave the party early.
Let us leave the party early.
If you still find homophones to be a challenge, try using LanguageTool as your writing assistant. This multilingual text editor lets you focus on writing while it corrects common mistakes (like incorrect use of weather vs. whether and altogether vs. all together). But it can also fix more complex errors, whether it be in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. The best part? It’s free to try.