let's vs let us

Is there any differences between them?
For example:

  • let’s go
  • let us go

They both have the same meaning. The first one is the short form and the second is the long form.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A wood shop[YSaerTTEW443543]

Thanks Torsten. Someone said "let us go " means “please release us”. What do you think?

That’s right. In this case there actually is a difference between both forms.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: An electrical technician[YSaerTTEW443543]

Many thanks Torsten.

The difference is much the same as that between ‘I have to go’ and ‘I have a dog’.

In the first utterance HAVE is a modal verb expressing obligation. In the second it is the content verb expressing possession.

In ‘Let us go to the store’ (or ‘Let’s go to the store’), ‘let us’ is a modal construction expressing the cohortative mood (this is used to mutually encourage people (including yourself) to do something). In ‘Let us go’, it’s also a modal construction. But this time, it’s expressing the suprahortative mood (which is used for pleas for something to be done).

They are both hortative moods. Look up hortative on wikipedia.


For those who have no Latin and want to know what ‘cohortative’ means, it’s a posh grammar word for encouraging. You may know it in the verb ‘exhort’, which has the sense of ‘beg’ or ‘earnestly encourage’

Just thought I’d pop that in.


It all depends on context.