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Don't let's" said Kathleen

Posted by Masakim on October 23, 2003

In Reply to: Don't let's" said Kathleen posted by Miri Barak on October 23, 2003

: I would like to know the meaning of Don't let's.
: The context from The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit:
: Gerald the eldest tells his brother and sister to march and they reach a dark place with steps down:
: "There are steps down", said Jimmy.
: It is an ice-house", said Gerald.
: "Don't let's", said Kathleen.

: I have to explain that she is not very brave (as girls used to be depicted in books on those days.

: Maybe she means: let's not go any further?

: My Many thanks
: miri

The negative of _let's_ is formed in three ways: _let's not_, which is widely used; _don't let's_, which is chiefly found in British English; and _let's don't_, which is an Americanism.
From _Webster's Dictionary of English Usages_

If you are suggesting that you and someone else should not do something, you say *let's not*.
"Let's not talk about it."
"Let's not waste time."
Some British speakers say *don't let's*.
"Don't let's tell anyone."
From _Collins Cobuild English Usage_