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The correct usage of "lose" and "loose"


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I thought I would help all of the people who are trying to learn English. There are quite a few words that can get confusing, "lose" and "loose" being some of them. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Lose: You have misplaced or lost something. Lose is a verb.

              Ex. I often lose my keys.

Loose: An item is not secure. Wiggly and not tight. Loose can be a verb and an adjective.

                Ex. I lost a lot of weight, and now my pants are loose.

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I used to have trouble distinguishing between "lose" and "loose", which I have learned that "lose" has only one "o" whereas "loose" has two "o"s. Another way I would distinguish is that "loose" tend to pronounce longer, which the double "o" is pronounced. Meaning wise, I would try to remember that "lose" has lost one "o", which becomes "lose". (If that makes sense.)

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I usually don't find myself having any trouble with such word confusions, but "Lose and "Loose" is a rarity which has troubled me. Especially in pronunciation, I often find myself accidentally saying a longer "You Loose!" And this clouds the difference between the two in my mind. I guess it's partially due to my habit of always speaking it out a bit longer each time there's a similar structure with "O".

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Lose and Loose has never been an issue for me, however "then-than" is still a bit annoying. English isn't my mother language and there are just some times where I know whether it's then or than and yet after spending 2 seconds thinking about it I get confused.

I still see a lot of people misspelling "you're" and "your" as well.

These two are probably the most mistaken words in English in my opinion.

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These haven't troubled me much as far as using them in simple, general form is concerned.

It gets confusing, however, when the otherwise adjective form "loose" is used as a verb.

Example - The tigers were let loose on the grounds. (Not likely to happen, though. Lol).

or

The snakes had been loosed on them. (Scary!)

These are instances when I stumble and take time figuring out if it'll be 'lose' or 'loose'. Otherwise it's easy to differentiate between the verb (lose) and adjective (loose).

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To be honest I really do not have the problem of confusing a word for another, and most time it's funny to me how people confuse a word for another. I've seen people confusing "lose" for "loose", "their" for "there", "then" for "than"(this is really irritating to me *sorry to say*) and vice versa etc.

My Advise - If you're confused get a dictionary to check the differences, and you won't make the same mistake again.

BTW, someone mentioned people mistaking "you're" for "your"; I think a lot of people know the differences, it's just like a trend that has taken over people.

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I find myself feeling really irritated on the two words 'read' and 'red'.

Sometimes I write the past tense of read as red deliberately because it just intuitively seems like the way to write it in my opinion. But what can you do, it's the way things are! :P

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  • 1 month later...

An awful lot of native English speakers who should know better make the "lose" and "loose" mistake too, so don't feel bad if you're learning English and you get them mixed up!

Try to work on the difference in pronunciation if you tend to say the two words in the same way, and you might find it easier to spell each one correctly too. The key lies in the way the letter "s" is pronounced. "Lose", as in "don't lose your wallet", has a soft "s" that sounds like a "z", while "loose" has a hard "s" like a hissing snake, as well as a slightly shorter "oo" than "lose" does (which can be confusing in itself - you might expect it to be the opposite).

As Eudora13 pointed out, you can also use "loose" as a verb, meaning to let something loose or release it, but this is really quite rare these days.

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I thought I would help all of the people who are trying to learn English. There are quite a few words that can get confusing, "lose" and "loose" being some of them. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Lose: You have misplaced or lost something. Lose is a verb.

              Ex. I often lose my keys.

Loose: An item is not secure. Wiggly and not tight. Loose can be a verb and an adjective.

                Ex. I lost a lot of weight, and now my pants are loose.

A lot of people are mixing up lose with loose. In particular a lot of people are writing loose when they mean lose. definition of loose: not fastened or pre-packed, not tied up or confined. lose: be deprived by accident or  misfortune, fail to find, fail to get to win. Examples: This knot is too loose. 2. Please do not lose my book. One way to remember the difference between the two words is to think that lose has lost an o. There is a lot of confusion between the correct usage lose and loose and this could be because of the way the words are pronounced, both sounding as though they should contain the 'oo'.

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