One \u201co\u201d or two? It makes all the difference with \u201close\u201d and \u201cloose,\u201d which are very easy to mix up. But how do you use these words correctly?\r\n\r\nIn today\u2019s Word Choice post, we explain everything you need to know.\r\nLose (Misplace or Fail to Win)\r\n\u201cLose\u201d is pronounced with a hard \u201cz\u201d sound to rhyme with \u201csnooze.\u201d It has a few meanings, but all of them are as a verb (i.e., an action word). Possibly the most common use is to mean \u201cmisplace\u201d or \u201ccease to have\u201d:\r\nI always lose my glasses.\r\nHe started to lose his hair when he turned thirty.\r\nThe first sentence above describes someone misplacing something. The second sentence describes the balding process! There is a difference here (it would be difficult to misplace your hair unless you were wearing a wig). But both draw on the idea of no longer having something.\r\n\r\nAnother common use of \u201close\u201d is to mean \u201cfail to win\u201d:\r\nThey will lose the match if they keep playing like this!\r\nThis sense of \u201close\u201d can be applied to anything where there is a winner and a loser, including sports, games, fights, battles, and arguments. The simple past tense of \u201close\u201d is \u201clost\u201d in all cases.\r\nLoose (Release, Not Tight or Unrestrained)\r\nThe \u201c-s-\u201d in \u201cloose\u201d is pronounced softly, so this term rhymes with \u201cmoose.\u201d It is most commonly used as an adjective (i.e., a word that modifies a noun). It can also mean several things, including:\r\n\r\n \tNot tightly fastened (e.g., Your pants will fall down if they\u2019re too loose.)\r\n \tUnrestrained or free from confinement (e.g., There is a lion loose in the zoo.)\r\n \tNot densely packed (e.g., It is easier to dig in loose soil.)\r\n \tLacking precision or strictness (e.g., We have some loose rules about attire.)\r\n\r\nThese senses of \u201cloose\u201d are all a little different, but all draw on the idea of not being tight or strict. So "not tight" is the uniting theme of this term.\r\n\r\nIt can also be used as a verb, when it means \u201crelease\u201d or \u201cset free,\u201d such as in:\r\nShe loosed an arrow towards the target.\r\nWe should loose the dogs to scare the intruder.\r\nAs shown above, the simple past tense of this sense of \u201cloose\u201d is \u201cloosed.\u201d\r\nSummary: Lose or Loose?\r\nThese terms look similar written down, so it is easy to confuse them. Remember the following definitions:\r\n\r\n \tLose (verb) means \u201cmisplace\u201d or \u201cfail to win.\u201d\r\n \tLoose (adjective) means \u201cnot tight\u201d or \u201cunrestrained.\u201d\r\n \tLoose (verb) means \u201crelease\u201d or \u201cset free.\u201d\r\n\r\nKeep in mind that \u201close\u201d is always a verb. The only time \u201cloose\u201d is a verb is when it means \u201crelease.\u201d And if you are using an adjective, it will always be \u201cloose\u201d you need. But if you\u2019d like some expert assistance with your word choice and spelling, why not submit a document for proofreading today?