Easily Confused Words: Loose vs. Lose

Loose and Lose are easily confused words. The spell-check of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up among these three words. As long as it’s a word and it is spelled correctly, spell-check keeps on scanning the document.

Loose is an adjective, indicating something that is not chained, fastened, or linked. Loose is the opposite of tight.

Lose is a verb, meaning failure at a contest or game, or when someone stops possessing a thing. You can lose a game, you can lose your dog, you can lose a job, you can lose another’s love. Lose is the opposite of win and gain.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Lorna didn’t intend to wear her long hair loose, she just had a nagging tendency to lose track of her hair bands and barrettes before school.

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