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Grammar 101: Loose vs. Lose

by IELTS

It’s very common for someone to use a word incorrectly as there are many words that sound similar but mean very different things. To avoid embarrassing blunders, we’ve come up with a list of “confusing” words and an explanation of how to correctly use them.

This month we will look at “Loose” and “Lose”, two words that are often misused.

Loose vs. Lose examined and defined for you

LOOSELOSE
IT IS A ADJECTIVE

A word that describes a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality.
IT IS A VERB

A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.
DEFINITION

(a) Not firmly held or fastened in place.
(b) Not fitting closely to the body (of clothes).
(c) Not tightly controlled, or not exact.
(d) Having low morals, sexually free.
(e) To speak or express emotions very freely, especially in an uncontrolled way.
(f) Not solid (watery).
DEFINITION

(a) To no longer have something because you do not know where it is.
(b) To have something or someone taken away from you.
(c) To stop feeling something.
(d) To have less of something that you had before.
(e) To get rid of something.
(f) To fail to succeed in a game, competition.
SYNONYMS

Baggy, easy, sloppy, free, hanging, slack, unhooked, detached, disconnected, free.
SYNONYMS

Drop, fail, forget, give up, suffer, waste, rob, miss, deplete, consume.
IN A SENTENCE

A floorboard has come loose in the dining room.

You’re not connected to the internet because there’s a loose connection in the plug.

After the meeting, I was shocked to find a few loose sheets of paper with confidential information lying around in the room.

Although the shoe was in my size, it was very loose.

The movie is a loose adaptation of the short story written by Danny.
IN A SENTENCE

Please lose the jacket as it makes you look so much older.

My doctor said my health will improve if I lose weight.

I lose two hours every morning stuck in traffic.

I think it’s best to end our conversation before I lose my temper.

We will have to lose half of our employees if this deal doesn’t go through.

Reference: Cambridge Dictionary

Now that you understand the words and know how to use it in a sentence, take our 10-question quiz to test your knowledge.

Scroll down for answers

Quiz:

1. It infuriated me that she was more interested in playing with the _____ (loose, lose) thread on her dress instead of paying attention to what I was saying.

2. I think she looked gorgeous with her hair free and _____ (loose, lose) curls cascading down her shoulder.

3. I was sick with worry knowing that my dog was wandering _____ (loose, lose) in the streets without any clue how to make his way back home.

4. Win or _____ (loose, lose), I am happy that I got the opportunity to participate in this competition.

5. Marie refuses to _____ (loose, lose) hope as she strongly believes that her brother survived the tsunami.

6. In many Asian cultures, people believe you have _____ (loose, lose) morals if you expose too much skin.

7. Tyler is on the ball and will never _____ (loose, lose) sight of what he needs to accomplish to win the race.

8. Don’t _____ (loose, lose) control, stay calm and think before you make your next move.

9. His gambling habits need to be addressed because he may _____ (loose, lose) everything that is dear to him.

10. I am most relaxed when I am at home, watching TV with a glass of wine and in _____ (loose, lose)-fitting clothes.

 

Answers: 
1. loose; 2. loose; 3. loose; 4. lose; 5. lose; 6. loose; 7. lose; 8. lose; 9. lose; 10. loose

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