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Say I'm promoting a product. Which is correct?

  • [Product] let's you [do something awesome].
  • [Product] lets you [do something awesome].

Or neither?

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The more I think about it the more I think that neither is correct and it should rephrased... –  jeffamaphone Sep 23 '10 at 21:41
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@jeffmaphone, really, the second sentence is just fine. It’s not fancy, but there’s nothing wrong with it at all. “ Facebook lets you connect with long lost friends.” “ StackExchange lets you ask and answer questions on most any topic.” “ Google lets you find the web page you were looking for.” –  nohat Sep 23 '10 at 23:09
    
So it would seem. Perhaps I over-thought it. I don't have a real dictionary at work, and I was having trouble finding authoritative proof of the acceptance of "lets" as a real word on the Internet. Which is why I turned to the experts here. Frequently though I find it's easier to reword something than to debate its correctness: "[Product] enables you to [do something awesome]" conveys the point just as well with no potential errors or debate over correctness. :) Thanks for responding. –  jeffamaphone Sep 24 '10 at 16:26
    
If you replace 'you' with 'us' and pluralise it, then contract it to "let's", you get 'These products let's do awesome things'. This is definitely wrong. Just an observation. –  mjsqu Apr 3 at 9:35
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3 Answers 3

up vote 40 down vote accepted

Let’s is the English cohortative word, meaning “let us” in an exhortation of the group including the speaker to do something.

Lets is the third person singular present tense form of the verb let meaning to permit or allow.

In the questioner’s examples, the sentence means to say “Product (allows/permits you to) do something awesome”, so the form with lets is correct.

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The second one is correct.

Let's is a contraction of let us. "Let's go to the ballgame today!"

Lets is the third-person singular simple present indicative form of let -- but of course we all knew that already....
It means allows, which looks like what you want to convey here.

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Here's an easy way to figure out which to use: replace the word lets with the words let us. If the sentence still makes sense, then use the contractual form. Let's try a few examples:

  1. Lets/let's see how it can be done. (should be Let's)
  2. Flubber let's/lets you jump high. (should be lets)
  3. Let's/lets go to the movie after dinner. (should be Let's)
  4. This trick lets/let's us pick the right word. (should be lets)
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An additional approach is to make the subject PLURAL, and then see which verb you are wont to pick: These products (...) you [do awesome things]. Obviously "let", not "let'". –  Hexagon Tiling Mar 19 '12 at 8:36
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protected by RegDwigнt Apr 3 at 9:26

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