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 know whether to use lose or loose, but I will also give you a trick to remember forever which spelling is correct.
Lose is Always a Verb
Some of the most common meanings for the word “lose” 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 is Usually an Adjective
“Loose” 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.
Examples of Things that Can Be Loose
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 “footloose and fancy free”?
I hope the difference between “lose” and “loose” is clear. Now, how will you remember which is which?
Knowing When to Use Lose or Loose
It’s easy. Whenever you find yourself loosely throwing a double letter “o” into the word loose, ask yourself, “Should I *lose* the “o”?” Here are a few tricks to help you remember which word to use.
- If you want a verb that means “to be without something,” then be without the extra “o”!
- If you want to say you “didn’t win,” imagine the loser paying the winner the extra “o.”
- If you misplace something, misplace 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. You can also sign up for Brenda’s Grammar & Writing Tips List for tips on how to communicate more professionally.