What’s the difference between loose and lose?

This week we are looking at two words which are sometimes confused: loose and lose.

loose

Loose /luːs/ is an adjective. It means `not firmly fixed’, or `not tight’.

The handle is loose.

Mary wore loose clothes.

lose

Lose /luːz/ is a verb. If you lose something, you cannot find it, or you no longer have it.

If you lose your credit card, let the company know immediately.

I don’t want to lose my job.

The other forms of lose are loseslosinglost.

They were willing to risk losing their jobs.

He had lost his passport.


Find out more in our English Usage article.

This blogpost is based on Collins COBUILD English Usage, written for learners of English. For more examples of English usage points, please visit:  https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/english-usage.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

Other Articles

What’s the difference between childish and childlike?

This week we are looking at two words which are sometimes confused by learners of English: childish and childlike. childish You say that someone is childish if you think they are behaving in a silly or immature way. Don’t be so childish. We were shocked… Read More

What’s the difference between bear and bare?

This week we are looking at two words which are sometimes confused: bear and bare. bear Bear can be a noun or a verb. A bear is a large, strong wild animal with thick fur and sharp claws. The bear stood on its hind legs. If you bear a… Read More

What’s the difference between careful, careless and carefree?

This week we are looking at a few words that could be confusing for some learners of English: careful, careless, and carefree. careful If you are careful, you do something with a lot of attention. She told me to be careful with… Read More