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What is the Past Tense of Let

“Let” is a small but powerful verb in English, sometimes confused with “make” (force, compel) by some language users where the concepts overlap.

In English, “let” is used mostly to mean ‘allow’ but it can also be used in a variety of formal imperatives, some that are used commonly in regular speech, and some that are reserved more for literary use.

The past tense of “let” is ‘let’ and the past participle is also ‘let.’

What is the past tense of “let”?

Let (verb):

(1) To allow; to not prevent

(2) Used in various imperative expressions: e.g. “let’s go”; “let there be no doubt!”

  • Infinitive                       to let
  • Simple Past                 let
  • Past Participle             let

Conjugation Table of Let

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Iletlethave letam letting
You (sing.)letlethave letare letting
He/She/Itletslethas letis letting
Weletlethave letare letting
You (pl.)letlethave letare letting
Theyletlethave letare letting

Example Sentences of Let

(1) To allow; to not prevent

  • How could you let this happen?
  • The students asked to leave early, and the teacher let them do so
  • My parents never let me do anything I want

(2) Used in various imperative expressions: e.g. “let’s go”; “let there be no doubt!”

  • Come on, let’s go! We’re going to be late
  • Let there be no misunderstanding here: I did not send that email, okay? It must have been someone else
  • One of the most famous phrases from the Bible is “Let there be light!”
What is the past tense of “let”?

Focus: Past Tense of Let

The above examples help to show us just how versatile and powerful a small word like “let” can really be. The good news for learners here is that “let” doesn’t have to change its form very much when conjugating for person or tense.

Knowing “let” and “lets” is enough to cover both present and past tense forms. Below we have prepared some past-tense examples using the following tenses.

  • Simple past
  • Present perfect
  • Past continuous
  • Past perfect

Simple Past of Let

  • He let the students do whatever they wanted on their last day at school
  • Parents in the 1960s never let their children speak out of turn
  • I let you make this decision for once before, and that was a mistake

Present Perfect of Let

  • She has let her husband speak for her far too often, and now she wants a change
  • We have let them know that you no longer wish to receive emails from them
  • I have let it be known that I am now a vegan, so my dietary requirements have changed

Past Continuous of Let

  • I was letting them watch TV, but now I think that was an error
  • He was letting the another drive go through the intersection first, and that’s what caused the confusion

Past Perfect of Let

  • They had let you leave early, but you decided to stay anyway?
  • We had let our troubles and stresses get on top of us, and that’s why we failed

Understanding the Verb “Let”

Originating from the Old English “lǣtan,” “let” is a versatile verb that can mean “to allow” or “to cause something to happen.

Phrasal Verbs with “Let

“Let” appears in various phrasal verbs:

  • Let down: To disappoint.
    • She felt let down by her friend’s actions.
  • Let in: To allow someone to enter.
    • Please let the cat in.

Nuances in Usage

  • “Let vs. Allow”: While both mean to give permission, “let” is often more informal.
    • Let me go! vs. Smoking is not allowed here.

Common Mistakes

Typical errors associated with “let”:

Incorrect: He lets her sister borrow the car last week.

Correct: He let her sister borrow the car last week.

We also have a full list of irregular verbs from A – Z on the site which you can access from the link here.

You can check other past tense words and our past tense resources by clicking on the links in the table below and in the resource list below that.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

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We also have articles and worksheets which we will link examples of below, and if you need more you can try the search box.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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