Let's, let us, let him/them in indirect speech

Let's read this article on English Grammar! This suggestion I've just made can be reported. But how?  If you have doubts,  then read on!

1 Let's in reported speech

   let's usually expresses a suggestion and is reported by the verb suggest in indirect speech:

  • She said, "Let's go to the restaurant"  would be reported:
    She suggested going to the restaurant or She suggested that they/we should go the restaurant.
  • He said, "Let's wait a few minutes and then try again later" would be reported:
    He suggested waiting a few minutes and trying again later or He suggested that they/we should wait a few minutes and try again later.

In the negative it looks similar:

  • He said, "Let's not blame him till we hear the facts"  would be reported:
    He suggested not blaming him till they heard the facts or He suggested that they shouldn't blame him till they heard the facts

However, let's not used alone in answer to an affirmative suggestion is often reported by some phrase that  opposes the idea. So that we could report:

  • "Let's bake a cake," said Jessica. "Let's not," said Tim =

    Jessica suggested baking a cake but Tim was against it.

 let's/let us sometimes expresses a call to action. It is then usually reported by:

urge/advise + object + infinitive

  • The student said, "Let's show our teacher that we respect him" =
    The student urged the other students to show that they respect their teacher.

  2 Let him/them

Let him/them expresses a command. But very often the speaker has no authority over the person who is to obey the command:

  • "It's not my business," said the postman. "Let the government do something about it."

Here, the speaker is not issuing a command but expressing an obligation. Sentences of this type are therefore normally reported by ought/should:

He said that it wasn't his business and that the government ought i to/should do something about it.

Sometimes, however, let him/them does express a command. It is then usually reported by say + be + infinitive


  • "Let your children clear up their rooms," he said=
    He said that the children were to clear up  their rooms.


3 Sometimes let him/them is more a suggestion than a command. In such cases it is usually reported by suggest, or say + should;

  • She said, "Let them take the camera. They are going to need it " =

    She suggested they should take the camera  or She said that they should go to their consul.

4 let him/them can also indicate the speaker's indifference:

'The neighbours will complain," said Ann.

  • "Let them come," said Tom =
    Tom expressed indifference or Tom said he didn't mind (if they came).

 5 Let there be

The speaker could be ordering, advising, urging or begging:

"Let there be no reprisals,'" said the widow of the murdered man = The widow urged/begged that there should be no reprisals.

let is also an ordinary verb meaning allow/permit:

  • "Let him buy this toy, Mark; it's going to be a good present" I said =
    I asked my husband to let our child buy a toy, because I thought it was going to be a good present.

    In the example, "let's bake

    In the example, "let's bake a cake" i noticed a typo in the reported sentence. Just wanted to point it out.