Loose | Lose
The spelling of these two words is very similar, and their pronunciation does not directly match their spelling, so students sometimes confuse 'loose' and 'lose'.
Connected to the idea of 'loss'.
Lose is a verb that is related to loss. It means fail to win or be deprived of, or misplace. (It rhymes with 'snooze')
But hey I got myself ♫ nothin' to lose.
♪ You're gonna lose that girl ♫
♫♪ If I ever lose my faith in you ♪
Here are some ordinary sentences (not from songs) as examples:
He's gambled nearly all his money, so he thinks that he now has nothing to lose.
We've got the better team; you have no choice but to lose the game.
Keep your keys on a chain in your pocket or you may lose them to a street pickpocket.
Something is not tight. Also means free or unconstrained.
Loose (rhymes with goose, or moose). Have you ever heard of a loose goose?
Loose is an adjective. It means the opposite of tight... not tight.
Oh, be careful, your shoelace is loose.
Stop, don't use that chair, it has a loose screw.
Don't bother talking to him, he has a screw loose
Loose as a verb
Not common, but loose can sometimes be used as a verb to mean 'to release' (or sometimes to 'relax')
Loose is occasionally used as a verb to mean to release or to relax. It is rather old-fashioned now.
Halt right there! or I'll loose the dogs.
You look tired, you need to loosen up a bit more.
Complete the quiz items below to see if you have understood this lesson. Then click the blue arrow at the bottom of the page to check your answers.
Instructions: Hover or tap the questions below to see the reason for the answers given in the quiz.
1. Select the correct sentence from the options below.
❍ i) Many prisoners loose their minds in solitary confinement.
❍ ii) The jail bars were loose so he was able to escape.
ii) The jail bars were loose ✔
Why: To *loose * your mind would be like saying it was released from your head. Loose is rarely used as a verb like this, and although grammatically it is possible, the meaning is bizarre. The second option is more plausible.
2. For each item, choose the correct word from the options provided.
Rhymes with snooze
He's been in training for months. There's no way he can _____ this.
We should make sure that the cap is not _____, otherwise they might be able to open it.
I didn't need the card - I paid with _______ change.
Rhymes with moose
lose | lose | loose | loose | loose ✔
Why: 'Lose' rhymes with 'snooze' | 'lose' as a verb meaning 'not win' | 'loose' = 'not tight' | 'loose change' = coins randomly in pocket or purse (ie not tied to any purpose) | 'loose' rhymes with 'moose'.