There are many words that even native English speakers mix up. A commonly mistaken pair is ‘loose’ and ‘lose’. Learn the difference to improve your English and get closer to your proficiency goal.

Loose – is an adjective that describes things that do not fit very well or which are going to fall off. This could be a loose tooth, a loose nail, or loose clothes. It is the opposite to ‘tight’ or ‘contained’.

Lose – is a verb that is used when you have misplaced something. You might lose your cell phone, lose your keys or even lose money. It is the opposite to ‘find’.


Loose – is pronounced as lo͞os. It has an ‘s’ sound at the end. This ‘s’ sound is the same as in ‘Spain’.

Lose – is pronounced lo͞oz. It has a ‘z’ sound at the end.

Here is a tip to help you remember the difference. ‘Loose’ is a longer word than ‘lose’, so when you think about loose clothes, imagine that they are bigger, When we are talking about things that are too big in size, we will use ‘loose’, the word that is longer.

Hopefully with these tips, you won’t have any more trouble deciding when to use ‘lose’ or ‘loose’. Do you have any other words that you get mixed up?

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