Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Word Usage: When to Use Lose or Loose

Some people find word usage easy. They remember the difference between affect and effect, regardless and irregardless (the latter is not a word), and how to conjugate the verb lay. Others occasionally need a refresher course.

Today we are looking at lose and loose. What's the difference between the two?

Lose is the opposite of win or gain. It means that you had something at one point, and now you don't, for better or worse. The conjugation of the verb to lose is lose, lost, have lost. For example, I've lost fourteen pounds! That's a good thing to lose. On the other hand, our team lost the semifinals. Not so good.

Loose often refers to clothing or something that is baggy. He was wearing a loose fitting shirt. Sometimes, it's used in the pejorative to refer to a woman who sleeps around. She was a loose woman. A very sexist way of thinking, which I hope is on its way out. We hope that people will lose that kind of attitude!

In general, the way to remember this one is that lose is a verb and loose is an adjective. There is only one way to conjugate loose unless you want to say loosely.

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