Common Spelling Mistakes: Lose vs. Loose
by: Brenda Bernstein
Do you know the difference between the words “lose” and “loose”? Do you wonder each time you write one of these words whether you’re spelling it right? Today I will not only give you examples of how to use “lose” and “loose,” but I will also give you a trick to remember forever which spelling is correct.
Lose: This word is a VERB. Some of its most common meanings are to come to be without something, to fail to keep track of something, to have someone die, or to fail to win.
Here is a list of some things you can lose: keys; money; a job; 25 pounds; loved ones; a game of pool, your virginity, or your mind.
Before you get lost in thought about all the things you might lose, let’s move on to our next word.
Loose: This word is usually used as an ADJECTIVE. It can mean free, unfettered, unbound, or lacking in restraint; a few of its antonyms (opposites) are firm, bound and tight. It can also be used as a VERB meaning to let go of, let shoot or fly, or set free.
Some things that can be or get loose are: Hair, knots, zoo animals, a sexually promiscuous person, a structure, an interpretation, vegetables in the grocery store, and teeth.
There are many idioms that use the word “loose” such as “let loose,” “break loose,” “cut loose,” “hang loose,” “turn loose,” and “on the loose.” And are any of you “foot loose and fancy free”?
I hope the difference between “lose” and “loose” is clear. Now, how will you remember which is which?
It’s easy. Whenever you find yourself loosely throwing a double letter “o” into the word loose, ask yourself, “Should I *lose* the “o”?” If you want a verb that means “to be without something,” then be without the extra “o”! If you want to say you “failed to win,” have the loser (not the looser) pay up the winner with the extra “o.” And if you think you might lose track of something, lose track of the second “o.”
If on the other hand, if you want your word to mean free, unbound, or anything loosely in that category, be free with your “o”’s! Dare I say, “Use them or lose them?”
If you have questions about this or any other spelling/grammatical issue, ask The Essay Expert.
This entry was posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 7:28 pm and is filed under Articles by Brenda Bernstein, Bio Writing, Cover Letter Tips, Professional Writing, Writing Tips and tagged as Grammar, Writing Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.