I May “Loose” My Mind

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Grammar, Mini-Lessons

I may “loose” my mind if I read one more misspelling of “lose.”  I recently spotted it on a tweet, in an online newspaper article, on a real estate blog, and on a student’s paper.  It’s everywhere – even in professionally edited material.  The right ring finger must fly the swiftest on the keyboard.

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It’s fun to win or lose in this game!

Lose Vs. Loose

A Bonobos ape on the loose and a Dallas Cowboys quarterback who rarely loses provide perfect examples of the difference between lose and loose.

“Lose” is a verb. You can lose your wallet or lose a game. I lose inhibitions every day when I try one new scary thing.  Paul Simon even thought of fifty ways to lose a lover.

If you’re playing Blink (the world’s fastest, most fun game!) and your opponent is winning, that means you’re losing. You’re not loosing!! No matter how uneven the card piles, you can take comfort from the fact that you’re never, ever loosing a game–unless the cards are stuck in a tree branch after a tornado and you’re knocking them loose.

You can be a winner or a loser. But you’re only looser if you just stretched out at the gym.

“Loose” is sometimes a verb and more often an adjective and, increasingly, a pain in the neck to proofreaders, editors, and perfectionist grammar geeks like myself.

You have loose change in your pocket. Loose clothes don’t fit well.  If you’re loosing chaos on the world, you’re wreaking havoc. You’re only losing chaos if your girlfriend’s name is Chaos and she wants to break up.

With all this misuse, I’m curious about pronunciation. Are there people who learned to read phonetically who see a phrase such as “loose change” and hear in their heads the pronunciation for “lose change”? For the moment, at least:

“Loose” rhymes with the end of caboose.
“Lose” rhymes with muse.

So please, please, don’t let your finger fing that extra o.  GG may lose her mind!!  ;-)

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