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

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Grammar articles, Spelling tips no comments
image description

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.

Dose, nose, pose 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?

Leave a comment