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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

ESL Student Blog: 'Lose' Vs. 'Loose'

These two words are confused on a fairly regular basis by ESL students.

Lose (past - lost, past participle - lost) is a verb. If you lose something, you fail to keep it. People routinely lose money, keys, documents, glasses etc.

More examples:

Initially, Jimmy started to go swimming because he wanted to lose weight. He enjoyed swimming very much and eventually decided to become a lifeguard. In his opinion, there are too many people who lose their lives in drowning incidents. As a lifeguard, he’s trained to help people who lose their consciousness or balance while in the water.

Additional examples:

lose control’ - The driver lost control of the car and crashed into the building.

lose temper’ - Teenagers sometimes lose temper and start yelling at their parents.

lose a job’ - Many people lost jobs during the last recession

lose hair’ - Peter is getting bald. He may be losing hair due to a lot of stress he has been through lately.
Also, you you don’t win, you lose (in competitions, games, matches and wars).

After the injury, she lost to her opponent 4-6.

The ‘s’ in the verb ‘lose’ sounds as ‘z’. ‘Lose’ rhymes with ‘shoes’ and ‘whose’.

Loose’ is usually used as an adjective. It means ‘not tight’, or ‘not restrained’.


My six-year-old niece likes to wear her hair loose - falling down on her shoulders - no braids or pony tails! She doesn’t like tight clothes - only loose T-shirts. She has 3 loose teeth - they’ve been wiggly for a while. When she finally loses them, she’ll put them under the pillow so that a toothfairy can visit her. And yes.. she likes to fidget in her chair. All 4 legs in her chair are wobbly - they have loose screws and need tightening. She’s a real angel!

More examples:

loose rocks’ - They built a fence to prevent loose rocks from falling down the mountain.

loose pages’ - The wind blew the notebook open and all the loose pages flew across the room.

loose ends’ - Don’t wear clothing with loose ends (i.e.: loose sleeves) - these can get caught in the factory machines.

break loose’ - The dog saw a squirrel and broke loose from the leash.

The ‘s’ in ‘loose’ sounds as ‘s’. It rhymes with ‘goose’ and ‘juice’.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 12:15 AM
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