lezioni di vocabolario

Lose or Loose? What’s the difference?

Loose o Lose? Una sola lettera cambia totalmente il significato di queste parole. Vediamole assieme e non confondiamoci più!

Lose is a verb that means “to fail to win, to misplace, or to free oneself from something or someone.”

Loose is an adjective that means “not tight.”

Only one O distinguishes loose from lose.

No wonder so many people confuse these two words! How are lose and loose defined? How can you remember the difference between the two terms?

One way to remember the difference between the two words is to think that “lose has lost an ‘o'”.

Because many people confuse loose with lose, there are many mnemonics to help you remember which is which.

For example: If you lose the O of loose, you’ve spelled the opposite of find.

Examples for ‘lose’:

If I lose my glasses once more this week, I am going to glue them to my head. – Se perdo i miei occhiali ancora una volta questa settimana me li incollerò alla testa.

I will lose weight if I keep the principles of my diet. – Perderò peso se manterrò i principi della mia dieta.

I will lose a fortune if my team doesn’t win. – Perderò una fortuna se la mia squadra non vincerà.

Examples for ‘loose’:

Watch your footing on this loose sand. – Attento a dove cammini su questa sabbia instabile.

Travelers are advised to wear a lightweight shirt that is loose fitting.  – I viaggiatori sono raccomandati di indossare una maglietta leggera e comoda.

There is a dangerous dog loose in the street. – C’è un cane pericoloso libero in strada.

Let’s summarize what we know about ‘lose’ and ‘loose’ in a table:

LOSE [luːz]

LOOSE [luːs ]

Pronunciation rhymes with ‘booze’ [buːz ] or ‘snooze’ [snuːz] rhymes with ‘goose’ [ɡuːs]
Verb yes yes
Verb forms lose, losing, lost loose, loosing, loosed
Adjective no yes
Adjective forms no looser, loosest

TIP: if you know that the word you want is an adjective or a noun, the spelling is almost certainly loose, with two ‘o’s.

A single letter distinguishes lose and loose, but you can tell them apart. Practice makes perfect. If you write a few sentences with each of the words, before long you will be a pro. Why not start now? You’ve got nothing to lose!

source: grammarly.com, grammarmonster.com, blog.oxforddictionaries.com

Let’s practise then. Loose or lose?

  1. My daughter tells me that it is fashionable to wear jeans that are very …… around the waist.
  2. …… is an understatement. She means hanging around the hips.
  3. I have no intention to buy any new jeans, so I’ll just have to …… some weight.
  4. She grabbed her friend’s hand so she wouldn’t ……him in the crowd.
  5. The farmer had three …… teeth and another three that were missing.
  6. Don’t worry about your hair – let it hang …… . I like it that way.
  7. All his pigs broke …… and escaped through a broken fence.
  8. I can’t afford to …… my job so I am unwilling to take any risks.
  9. Be careful. There’s a moose on the …… !
  10. The stones were……, so it was a dangerous climb.


  1. loose
  2. Loose
  3. lose
  4. lose
  5. loose
  6. loose
  7. loose
  8. lose
  9. loose
  10. loose


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