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Do You Spell It Lets or Let’s? Which is the Correct One?

Do You Spell It Lets or Let’s? Which is the Correct One?

There may have been lesser misspellings or grammatical errors to deal with if it weren’t for homonyms or similar sounding words with almost identical spellings. But despite all the literary troubles homonyms could possibly brew, they are here to stay – as they serve a purpose. For instance, the homonyms “let’s” and “lets” exist because they don’t mean the same thing.

“Lets” and “let’s” are both valid English terms. “Lets” means “to allow or give permission”. “Let’s” is merging “let” and “us”. Both words have their roots in the verb “let” but cannot be used interchangeably in texts. For instance, “let’s” can be replaced with “let us” but not “lets”.

If you thought an apostrophe doesn’t make much of a difference to a term, meet “lets” and “let’s”. Read on to learn about the two words in greater detail so that any doubts you may have with regard to their meanings, usage in texts, etc., are cleared.

lets do this sign

Defining “Lets” and “Let’s”

The term “lets” is the third-person, present tense variant of the verb “let”, which means “giving or allowing permission”. It can be used synonymously with the word “allow” or “permit”.

The word “let’s” is a contraction that merges “let” and “us”. The letter “u” in “us” is replaced with an apostrophe. The cohortative term denotes “the urge or the need to do something”.

Besides “allow”, “let” – the root word for the above terms – could mean a host of other things or assume different meanings, most notably “impedance” or “something that obstructs”. Neither “lets” nor “let’s” has any association with that connotation.

Using “Lets” in Texts

Unlike “let’s”, “lets” is employed when discussing things that happened due to something or someone letting it happen. It usually shows up in sentences after the subject. For example:

  • His mom lets him play outside for two hours every day.
  • I hope dad lets us watch the game tonight.
  • The restaurant lets its customers select from a range of ice creams.

The words “lets” or “let” are commonly used in quite a few expressions and idioms, which include:

  • To let your hair down: The phrase can be used both literally and figuratively. The literal meaning is “untying your hair” or “letting your hair loose”. The symbolic interpretation is “breaking away from shackles” or “not being tied to anything, mentally or otherwise”.
  • To let something become known: It means “to provide information”.
  • To let a thing slip: It means “to provide information accidentally”.

Unlike “let’s”, “lets” is never used at the beginning of a sentence. Between the two, the first word of a sentence is always “let’s”. Online word processors such as Word will prompt you to change “Lets” to “Let’s”, if the former was used at the start of a sentence.

Using “Let’s” in Texts

The contraction “let’s” is used to suggest what someone should do or encourages them to do something. Also, it’s another way to say, “we should”. For example:

  • Let’s invite her.
  • Let’s watch a movie tonight.

Generally, the sentences incorporating the contraction “let’s” have a polite tone, as illustrated through the example sentences above. The word suggests an “option” and never implies “to order”. For example:

  • Let’s study for the exam now so that we could play later.

Also, “let’s” is invariably used in sentences with a first-person or direct tone. For example:

  • Let’s watch the show.
  • Let’s not forget to bring our umbrellas.
  • Let’s take a mini-break.

Not to mention, “let’s” is commonly used in phrases, which include:

  • Let’s do dinner: It means “to dine with someone”. “Let’s do dinner together so that we could spend some quality time together.”
  • Let’s head out: It means “to get out of a place right away”. “I do not like the movie. Let’s head out.

“Let Us” or “Let’s”?

to let sign

The “let’s” contraction is more commonplace in casual conversations or writings. Like all contractions, “let’s” makes your texts seem accessible and friendly. The word gives the feeling that the writer is directly interacting with the reader. When used in plays or novels, contractions such as “let’s” closely replicates how the character would speak.

Contractions, however, are not very welcome in formal texts. Most people steer clear of the truncated terms in their official correspondences as they perceive them as “casual” or “informal” and/or the words constitute incorrect grammar.

Therefore, the apostrophe is removed, and “let us” is used instead when drafting business contracts, writing an email to a boss, sending quotation letters, etc.

For example:

  • Let us assemble in the meeting room at 4 pm.
  • Let us conduct a brainstorming session after the meeting.

It is not incorrect to use “let’s” in business writings, but it would likely get construed or come across as “inappropriate” or “lackadaisical”.

Though “let’s” stands for “let us”, there are specific contexts in which the contraction cannot be used in lieu of the latter, even if that may seem logically correct. And this has got nothing to do with “business correspondence” or the formality of the text.

For example, using “let’s” in the following sentence doesn’t read well, even if it’s not technically wrong to use the contraction:

  • Why won’t she let’s stay out?

“Let’s” in the sentence above looks confusing and silly.

The contraction “let’s” cannot be used even if the above sentence is rephrased to have a more natural tone. For example, “Let’s stay out” sounds like an invitation to the person you are talking to and not as an earnest request to let you and a friend, sibling, or some other person that you want to stay out with together.

On a related note, “let us” is almost never used at the beginning of a sentence. “Let’s” is used pretty much always. For example:

  • Let us go shopping tomorrow! (Awkward)
  • Let’s go shopping tomorrow! (Much better)

Again, using “let us” in the first sentence above is not grammatically wrong, but it doesn’t read well. That’s because “let’s” has an “encouraging” tone, which the phrase “let us” doesn’t connote.

And such incompatibility between “let’s” and “let us” can lead to confusion while writing or failing to understand or remember “let’s” is the shorter version of “let us”.

Learning to Discern Between “Lets” and “Let’s”

The words “let’s” and “lets” look and read similar but are quite different terms in their own ways. Therefore, it’s imperative not to get mixed up between the two or use them interchangeably in sentences.

Since “let’s” employs an apostrophe, which in turn replaces the letter “u”, use “let’s” only when you could change “let’s” with “let us” in a given sentence or when the statement entails two individuals.

If “let us” cannot replace “let’s” and verbs such as “allow” or “permit” fit into the sentence perfectly, use “lets” instead. For example:

  • Let’s see how she manages to do it. (Let’s can be replaced with “let us” in the sentence)
  • The new pair lets her sprint faster. (Correctly uses “lets” instead of “let’s”)

Though “let us” can be used in the first sentence without rendering it grammatically wrong, it should typically not be used for the reasons mentioned above.

Example Sentences Using the Word “Lets”

The following is a list of sentences that use the word “lets”. As mentioned before, the verb “allow” and similar synonyms can replace “lets” in the texts below.

  • The app lets you book a cab and also order food for the commute.
  • She lets the pets sit on her expensive couch.
  • The link lets you download the pictures.
  • He always lets his pet to misbehave.
  • This feature lets you find your phone whenever you misplace it.
  • She owns four condos in the city and lets (rents) them all.
  • Michael lets his wife cook only during weekdays.
  • He lets us feed his pony.
  • She lets me borrow her class notes.

Example Sentences Using “Let’s”

Here is a list of sentences incorporating the contraction “let’s”. However, in formal writing scenarios, try to use “let us” in place of “let’s”.

  • Let’s all calm down first.
  • Let’s take into consideration all facts before arriving at conclusions.
  • Let’s wash the plates together before heading to bed.
  • Let’s visit the national park this weekend.
  • Let’s hope she doesn’t come back.
  • We can discuss the issue, but first, let’s clear the mess you’ve created.
  • Let’s go to her house.
  • Let’s pretend this didn’t happen.
  • Let’s not get distracted by the comments.
  • Let’s consider the different possibilities.
  • Just for a minute, let’s assume she is right.

As mentioned before, “let’s” is pretty much always used at the start of a sentence.

lets play sign


The apostrophe, or the floating comma, can change the meaning of a word with its inclusion or break a word when omitted. For instance, the contraction “wouldn’t” will not be a valid term anymore if the apostrophe is taken out or if it’s written as “wouldnt”. Both “let’s” and “lets”, however, are grammatically correct and unique too.

Since “let’s” and “lets” have similar spellings and identical pronunciations, it could be tricky to ascertain which word to use in a sentence. After reading this article in its entirety, you should most likely not find it difficult or confusing anymore to differentiate between the two words.