Common Mistakes in English: loose vs. lose

The difference between 'loose' and 'lose'.

The difference between ‘loose’ and ‘lose’.

Love Speaking is bringing you a series of blog posts on common mistakes made by learners of English as a second language.

Today we’re discussing the difference between the two words ‘loose’ and ‘lose’, which many people mix up in writing (including native speakers). In particular, many use the word ‘loose’ when they should be using ‘lose’. This post aims to explain clearly the difference between these words.

‘Loose’ is mainly an adjective. It means the opposite of tight. ‘Loose’ is used to describe something that is not firmly or tightly fixed in place or a piece of clothing that is not tightly fitted. Its Spanish translation is flojo, suelto.

Written phonetically, ‘loose’ is: luːs. Instead of a voiced ‘z’, we use a voiceless ‘s’ at the end of the word.

Loose’ can be used as a verb, although it is not very common, and if we want to say to make something looser, we generally use the verb ‘loosen’.

‘Lose’ is a verb. To lose means to suffer loss, to be deprived of or to no longer have something. Its past participle and past simple form is ‘lost’. Its Spanish translation is perder.

Written phonetically, ‘lose’ is: luːz. Transcribed, it would be ‘looz’, with a voiced ‘z’ at the end of the word.

Below are some examples of the uses of these words.

Examples with ‘lose’:

Don’t lose your patience, please.
No pierdas tu paciencia, por favor.

He has lost weight.
Ha perdido peso.

He has lost his mind.
Se ha vuelto loco.

I lost my house keys last night.
Perdí mis llaves de casa anoche.

Examples with ‘loose’:

My clothes are loose, because I have lost weight. (Here I’m using both the adjective ‘loose’ and the past participle of the verb ‘lose’.)
Mi ropa esta suelta, ya que he perdido peso.

This knot is too loose.
Este nudo está demasiado suelto.

There are lots of animals loose on the farm.
Hay muchos animales sueltos en la granja.

And finally, here’s an example with the verb ‘loosen’.

You’re hurting me! Please loosen your grip!
Me estas haciendo daño! Por favor no me agarres tan fuerte!

I hope this has made things clearer for you! There’s no need to lose your mind over it! I’ll see you next time with more Common Mistakes in English.

 
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