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Monday, March 22, 2010

Loose or lose?

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The difference between lose and loose?First let’s take lose [L-O-S-E]. This a verb, so it refers to an action, or something we do. If you lose something it means that you no longer have it and you, usually, don’t know where it has gone. Let’s listen to these examples:

I’ve lost my keys.
Try not to lose your temper.
I’m always losing my way (meaning I have trouble finding places as I take the wrong roads).
He recently lost his wife (meaning his wife recently died).
She feels like she’s losing her mind (meaning she feels like she’s going crazy)

On the other hand, loose [L-O-O-S-E] is an adjective, so it describes something. It is used when we want to say that something is the opposite of 'tight' or is not fixed, although there are a few expressions which are less literal. Have a listen to these:

The knot was a bit loose so the horse escaped.
I prefer to wear my hair loose, rather than tied up.
She always wears very loose clothing.
He’s got a bit of a loose tongue (meaning he likes to talk and may not be very good at keeping secrets).
The thief is on the loose (meaning he/she hasn’t been caught).
Have you got any loose change? (meaning coins that are not worth a lot of money, usually in your pocket)

Note that a very common place to make mistakes is when using the –ing form of the verb 'to lose' – people often put a double 'o' here. Be careful not to do this, because there’s no such word as 'loosing'.

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