Loose vs. Lose: What You Need to Know


Although they may have nearly identical spellings, loose and lose have different pronunciations and entirely separate meanings. In today’s post, we will break down the meaning and usage of each word.

The Meaning of Loose

Loose is an adjective that means “not tight” or “not contained.” Here are a few examples of loose being used correctly in sentences:

Loose clothes can be a hazard in a construction zone.
It’s important to secure bags on top of your car so they don’t come loose.
Jen’s office is littered with loose papers everywhere.

Notice that loose never has an action associated with it. The word always modifies another noun and describes a quality of that noun.

The Meaning of Lose

Lose is a verb (action word) that means “to misplace” or “to suffer defeat.” If you lose, you fail to win or fail to find something. Here are a few examples of lose being used correctly in sentences:

I hate to lose at chess, but Joe is the better player.
If you often lose your car keys, you should consider keeping them in a single location.
Rob wants to watch the game in person even though his team is likely to lose.

To lose might not be fun, but it is an action, unlike something that is too loose.

Pop Quiz

Complete each sentence with the correct use of loose or lose.

  1. You have to act as if you are excited to win, not afraid to [loose / lose].
  2. A single [loose / lose] screw can cause the entire machine to vibrate.
  3. The kindling for our fire was bundled, but some branches came [loose / lose].
  4. Jamie was afraid she would [loose / lose] her dog at the park without a leash.
  5. It’s amazing how much you can save by putting your [loose / lose] coins in a jar.
    Bonus: If you [loose / lose] too much weight, your pants may become [loose / lose].

 

Pop Quiz Answers

  1. You have to act as if you are excited to win, not afraid to lose.
  2. A single loose screw can cause the entire machine to vibrate.
  3. The kindling for our fire was bundled, but some branches came loose.
  4. Jamie was afraid she would lose her dog at the park without a leash.
  5. It’s amazing how much you can save by putting your loose coins in a jar.
    Bonus: If you lose too much weight, your pants may become loose.

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