Little Book of Confusables

Don’t lose the plot: tips to remember lose and loose

Do you know the difference between LOSE and LOOSE? Don’t learn the hard way, like Jessie J.

Last year, pop singer Jessie J admitted she’d had a tattoo of one of her song lyrics. Nothing unusual about that, maybe. But instead of ‘Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars’, the tattoo says ‘Don’t loose who you are in the blur of the stars’.

Imagine being tattooed with a typo. Double ouch.

It’s common for lose and loose to be mixed up, and easy to see why. But how do we avoid it?

Loose rhymes with moose and goose, but lose… well, it doesn’t rhyme with anything with the same ending.

Pose, nose and rose all end the same, but are all pronounced with an ‘oze’ sound. Only lose has an ‘oos’ sound.

What’s more, loose has the same ‘oose’ ending as choose, which rhymes with lose – gah!

When we think lose but write loose perhaps we’re thinking of loos which sounds the same, and contains a double o. But if that’s the case, we need to stop.

These tips should help you remember how to get it right: 

  • To write lose think of losing the second o. Or think of loser.
  • Loose rhymes with moose, so picture a moose with loose antlers.

And Jessie – use a dictionary next time. Mamma Knows Best, remember?

Coming soon: The Little Book of Confusables

Wouldn’t you love a handy guide to those tricksy spellings that trip you up and make you look bad? Words like PRACTICE and PRACTISE, AFFECT and EFFECT, or IMPLY and INFER.

The Little Book of Confusables shares simple, memorable spelling tips and examples for more than 500 of the words you find most confusing. Supercharge your vocabulary and avoid embarrassing mistakes! Sign up to my monthly newsletter for updates.