Loose/Lose

Just a quick lesson today.

The two words in the title, loose and lose, are probably two of the most easily- and often-confused by native English speakers.

In the simplest terms, which one is which?…

Loose has an “s” sound, and lose a “z” sound. If you get mixed up between them, or if you’ve been using them the wrong way round, then that’s all you probably want to know. You can stop reading now, if you want. The rest is just tidying up.

In more detail, loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight, and lose is a verb, the opposite of win. Or find, depending on the context.

This tooth feels loose. I might lose it soon.

Though occasionally, loose can be a verb, meaning to set free.

Smithers, loose the hounds! (I know, I know, he always says release the hounds.)

That use is quite old-fashioned now, so you’ll probably never use it that way. You might come across it in an old book, that’s all, so don’t think too much about it.

Now you know which one to use, don’t be a looser and get it wrong!

 

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