Angela’s ABCs: words sometimes confused – loose and lose by Angela Caldin
I often hesitate over which of these two words is right in the particular context and it’s only when I say them out loud that I can get it clear.
Loose, which rhymes with goose, is usually an adjective meaning not firmly or tightly held in place; not compact or dense; and free from restraint or confinement.
- The farmer realised that all the cows were loose and were trampling the vegetable patch.
- Matilda had a loose tooth which she hoped would soon come out and earn her some money from the tooth fairy.
- She decided to wear her hair loose around her shoulders rather than scraped back into a tight bun.
Lose, which rhymes with booze, is always a verb meaning to misplace something; to be deprived of or cease to have or retain something one once had; to become unable to find someone or something; to fail to win; or to fail to use or take advantage of.
- It seemed impossible that the All Blacks might lose the match, but Ireland defeated them 16-9.
- Maddy was devastated when she lost her phone and was unable to keep in contact with her friends.
- He realised that he was in danger of losing his good reputation by drinking to excess.