The apostrophe is a little squiggle which is often used incorrectly, with wild abandon, in the most inappropriate ways. I'd like to save it, to be an evangelist, and show people how to use it. Join with me on my apostrophe journey which has spanned many years, and hopefully will span many more to come! Teena Hughes

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Monday, September 04, 2006

When to use LOOSE or LOSE

A great question came via my website asking about when to use either 'loose' or 'lose'. Let me see if I can explain it in a way which will help ...

The pronunciation for these words is slightly different in UK English - 'loose' definitely has an 's' sound at the end, whereas 'lose' has more or a 'z' sound.

Some examples of when to use them both are:

"If my pants are loose and fall down, I'll lose the race!"

"I have a pocketful of loose change - I hope I don't lose it."

"To win or lose - the choice is yours."

"The overcoat was way too loose, and made him look silly."

"Did you
lose something, sir?"


LOOSE = not tight [clothing], morals [as in loose morals]

LOSE = a form of the word "LOST", e.g I lose, you lose, we lose

These are wrong ways to use the words:

"Pretty soon she will loose her baby teeth."
= Should be 'lose' her baby teeth.

"My skirt is lose, I need to wear a belt with it."
= Should be "skirt is loose".

Hope this helps someone understand the difference between loose and lose,
Ciao for now


At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Cheryl said...


I have a good one for your lose/loose... my sister in-law's last name is Loose, and it's pronounced, L-oh-ss (long o!).

Thanks for the loose/lose tips. (and info from DW on blogs!)

Cheryl M


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