I wrote:

Before bringing more examples of how the extraction rules are used, let us review the data extraction algorithm.

I know "let's" is not formal, but what about "let us" in written language. Which alternatives can be used instead of it?

  • Let us is formal, almost wooden, to an AmE ear. It is formulaic in academic writing. Sep 30, 2016 at 19:21
  • "Let us review how we solved a system of simultaneous equations..." Sep 30, 2016 at 19:27
  • 1
    "...we will review the data extraction algorithm." Or: "...a review of the data extraction algorithm is in order." (Also, presenting is more idiomatic than bringing in the first clause._) Sep 30, 2016 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


In speech or spoken language, Let's is not considered informal. And it does not matter whether one says Let us or Let's but the most common form is the abbreviated one.

There really is no alternative in spoken language. That's it for that meaning.

There is a famous book of photographs from James Agee entitled "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men". This is a very formal title and uses the unabbreviated form of Let us. Unless one were giving a formal speech to an audience, one would not use Let us very often.....

  • Agreed. Although one other time you might want to use "let us" is when you want to over-emphasize "us" for some reason, to make it clear that we are going to do this thing, but you (or they) are not.
    – Andrew
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:32
  • Thank you, but I asked about the formality in written language.
    – Ahmad
    Sep 30, 2016 at 18:44
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    I would have to disagree. A contraction like "Let's" would be considered informal in many kinds of written works. It is conversational. Sep 30, 2016 at 19:19
  • I believe I said SPEECH or SPOKEN LANGUAGE. A professor might say: Let's turn to the issue of the Roman Empire in [some year]. Not informal AT ALL. Spoken REGISTER.
    – Lambie
    Sep 30, 2016 at 20:39
  • @Ahmad: A short answer: there is no alternative to Let us. The only other way to write something like that it: Now, turning to the question of blah blah blah.
    – Lambie
    Sep 30, 2016 at 20:48

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