Let’s and lets are both correct, sound the same, but have different related meanings. This is because they’re based on the same verb, let, which means “allow or give permission.” However, they follow different grammatical rules.
Let’s is a contraction of the phrase “let us.” Meaning to say, it’s the combination of the words “let” and “us.” We use it to make suggestions with someone. For example, “Let’s go to the park.”
Lets is the third-person singular present tense form of the verb let, which means “allow or give permission.” When we say third-person singular, it refers to the pronouns in the third person point of view: “he,” “she,” and “it,” as in she lets, he lets, and it lets. Also, lets is followed by an object and the base form of the verb (without the preposition “to.”)
For example, we say, “She lets me do the work” and not “She lets me to do the work.” Hence, the former sentence is correct since the object is “me,” and the base form of the word is “do” without “to.”
When to Use Lets
We use lets a third-person singular present tense form of the verb let that means “to allow or give permission.”
I’m thankful to my parents for their trust. Their trust lets me become more independent and confident.
I have an extra key that lets me access my friend’s apartment anytime.
He lets me do the job at my own pace.
Lets is similar to allows or permits
Similarly, we can replace “lets” with “allows” in written English to sound slightly more formal. When making sentences, if we can replace lets with allows, it means lets (without an apostrophe) is correct. However, in the case of “allows,” we need to add “to” after the object.
My mom lets me decide on my own. (correct)
My mom let’s me decide on my own. (incorrect)
My mom allows me to decide on my own. (correct)
My mom allows me decide on my own. (incorrect)
When to Use Let’s
Let’s is the contraction of “let us.” We often use let’s to make suggestions with someone in a friendly and polite way. Furthermore, it’s an alternative to “we should.”
Additionally, we rarely use “let us” in spoken conversations. Meanwhile, the uncontracted form of “let us” can be used to sound formal. For example, “Let us finish this discussion at our next meeting.”
Let’s try the new coffee shop near us next time.
‘I want to catch the newly released episodes in The Mind Explained. Let’s go home early!’
I know you have many plans while you’re here, but let’s meet up when you’re free.
Conclusion: Lets vs. Let’s: Is There a Difference?
Yes, there’s a difference between lets and let’s. Lets and let’s both have the same root word, let, which means allow.
While they sound the same, they differ in grammatical rules but have related meanings. Without the apostrophe, lets is the third-person singular present tense form of the verb let. With the apostrophe, let’s is a contraction of the phrase “let us,” which means making suggestions in a friendly way.
Let’s use a template to improve writing as it lets us become better writers, shall we?
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.) Let, Let’s. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ dictionary. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/let-let-s
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Let. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/ dictionary. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/let
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Let. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/let
Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. (n.d.). Let. In https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/ dictionary. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/let_1?q=lets