I'm a native English speaker and I know that the English spoken in the show by the aristocracy is in the dialect of received pronunciation.

I've been learning about the various dialects in England from back then up to the modern day but I heard a phrase on the show that sounded very odd to me and was wondering if someone with more knowledge could explain it grammatically.

The phrase is: "Don't let's make too much of it." The context is the speaker telling someone not to make a big deal of out of something.

  • You wrote "lets", that would be "let's", as a contraction of "let us".
    – Law29
    Oct 6 '18 at 11:51
  • Fixed. Sorry typo, it's early here.
    – shenk
    Oct 6 '18 at 11:52
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of "Don't let's fight" Oct 6 '18 at 12:28
  • You didn't specify which variety of English you speak or were brought up in.
    – Mitch
    Oct 6 '18 at 13:06

What may be confusing you is that the phrase don't let's generally means something different from do not let us. I also believe don't let's is primarily a British phrase.

Don't let's means let us not, while do not let us means do not allow us to. And the intermediate contraction don't let us can mean either one.

This was dealt with in this question, so I'm voting to close it as a duplicate.

  • You’re exactly right. That’s the part that was confusing me.
    – shenk
    Oct 6 '18 at 12:29

"Don't let's make too much of it."

From the idiom:

make (too) much of someone or something

to pay too much attention to someone or something


Thus the sentence is question:

Don't let us pay too much attention to ...

  • Typically used in the sense of showing concern over something worrisome. A daughter's choice of boyfriend, for instance. It's a request to downplay something, often by feigning acceptance or condescension (in the older sense of the word). If the subject was baiting you, let's not rise to the bait.
    – Phil Sweet
    Oct 6 '18 at 12:22
  • 1
    But don't let's and do not let us mean two different things. Don't let's means let us not. Do not let us means Do not allow us to. And don't let us can be used for either one. I think that's what is confusing the OP. Oct 6 '18 at 12:22
  • let's = let us.
    – lbf
    Oct 6 '18 at 12:29
  • 2
    So "Let's go to the park, Mom" means the same thing as "Let us go to the park, Mom"? Oct 6 '18 at 14:11

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