Lose vs. Loose

I see loose being used so often in place of lose, and sometimes vice-versa. “He’s a looser” – ouch! That hurts my eyes.  Here’s how you can remember when to use which.

It’s all about visualizing the letter “o.”

Loose rhymes with moose and goose. It is an adjective which can also be formed into looser and loosest. There’s also an adverb form, loosely. Think of the letter “o” as being fabric. If you have double fabric, your pants will be bigger. They will be loose, and you’ll have plenty of room for both legs.

Lose rhymes with ooze and shoes. It is a verb, with past tense, lost. The noun form is loser. Think of fabric again. If an “o” goes missing, you have less fabric, and the pants will be tighter. If you lose fabric, maybe you’ll only have room for one leg.

OO = two legs = loose. O = one leg = lose.

Can you guess which words are correct in the sentences below?

  1. The (lose/loose) goose ate chocolate mousse.
  2. Beck sang, “I’m a (loser/looser) baby, so why don’t you kill me?”
  3. If the Giants (lose/loose) this game, they won’t go to the World Series.
  4. Although these shirts are (lose/loose), the ruffled one is (loser/loosest).
  5. When I (lose/loose) weight, my skirt will fit (loser/loosely).
  6. The prisoner got (lose/loose) but was a sore (loser/looser) when he got caught.

One thought on “Lose vs. Loose

  1. As usual, Karen C’s contribution to properly using the queen’s English has gotten my attention.
    I do so wish that MY pants were fitting more loosely however, to do so surely would require more discipline around all matters of eating than I have been exhibiting!

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