Lose vs. loose! A single letter can change the part of speech and the meaning of an entire word and set traps for all the writers who use the English language. The lose vs. loose dilemma can create a lot of confusion and misunderstanding when one of the words is used when actually the other word is meant. However, if you understand the difference between these two words, you’ll never get them mixed up again.
Lose vs. Loose
LOSE is a verb that has a few different meanings. It can mean “to suffer a loss”, “to miss”, or “to free oneself from”. LOOSE, on the other hand, is an adjective that is the opposite of tight. Let’s look at a few examples.
- I always lose at cards, with my bad luck.
- The team will definitely lose if he doesn’t play.
- She is wearing a loose dress.
- My belt is loose; I didn’t buckle it up tightly enough.
When to Use Loose vs. Lose
Imagine that you’re a basketball player. Your parents are extremely supportive of you and before one very important game, your father tells you, “The team will lose without you”. What he means is that your team won’t be able to win (or, in other words, will suffer a loss) if you won’t play. Since lose is a verb here, it doesn’t need a second o.
Following the same example, there might be someone in your basketball team to whom the coach will say, “You need to lose some weight”. Once again, lose is a verb, though it has a slightly different meaning from above. What doesn’t change is the fact that it’s spelled with one o only.
Let’s say that this player follows the coach’s advice and loses some weight. In a month, you can hear him complain about how all of his pants are now loose. He will say this because now that he became thinner, his pants are too big for him. Loose is an adjective here, so an extra o is needed.
The bottom line is, when you want a verb, you should use lose, and when you want an adjective, you should use loose. It might help you remember the difference if you think that, if you lose one o from loose, you’ll get lose. Even though this trick might seem confusing when you first read it, it might eventually make the distinction between these two similar words very clear.
Lose vs. Loose Examples
- Put your money into our savings plan, and you can’t lose by it.
- This diet is suited to anyone who wants to lose weight fast.
- When you have nothing to lose, it’s time to gain.
- I wonder who is scared to lose me.
- He was unfortunate to lose in the final round.
- She wears loose clothes to hide her flat chest.
- She trimmed the loose threads from her skirt.
- She was wearing a loose dress which softened the lines of her body.
- Will you tighten this screw, it’s very loose.
- He pounced on a loose ball and scored.
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