Which Word Wednesday: Loose vs. Lose

By April 3, 2013 language 2 Comments


It’s amazing what an extra letter can do to a word. Take today’s Which Word Wednesday entries, lose and loose. The extra O changes the word from something lost to something that’s not tight.

That extra letter can be tricky. It causes us to loose what is lost or lose something that’s tight. Oh boy. Let’s look at the definitions from The Oxford American Dictionary:

adjective :: not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached
verb :: let go

lose :: verb
be deprived of or cease to have or retain

That’s nice and all, those cute little definitions. But the trouble is keeping the right word matched to its proper definition and pronunciation. We need answers! We need words that aren’t confusing! We need help!

I’ve heard your cries. And here are some memory hooks that are sure to rock the grammar world:

Loose is pronounced like goose. As in, when your goose is loose, you need to catch it (before you lose it for good).

Lose is pronounced like ooze. As in, when you lose your ooze, you are probably glad.

See? That’s not so bad, is it! We can’t let one extra letter intimidate us. It just takes some creativity.

What’s my WWW verdict? You can lose a loose goose but you can’t goose a loose lose, because that doesn’t make any sense.

What’s your verdict? Do extra letters cause you to get the language sweats? Do loose and lose trip you up? Have you ever chased a loose goose? Do share in the comments.


www2013Check out previous Which Word Wednesday verdicts here.

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