lose vs loose: how to know the difference

Are you confused about the use of lose and loose? Read this piece:


The word lose (pronounced /lu:z/) is a verb that means ‘to no longer have something or be in control of it’, e.g. a thing, feeling, time, game, etc. The past tense and past participle form is ‘lost’.


  1. He predicted that they’ll lose the game even before it started.
  2. I don’t want to lose you, please stay with me.
  3. Digital Academy lost over a million naira last year.
  4. We told him the story and he’s losing his mind.


This is pronounced as /lu:s/. It can be used as an adjective, a verb or a noun.

adjective: not held firmly together, not exact, sexually free


  1. She wore loose clothing throughout the exercise.
  2. That’s quite a loose interpretation of the movie.

verb: to release, to make something loose, to relax one’s grip, to express oneself in an uncontrolled manner

The past tense and past participle form is ‘loosed’.


  1. She loosed her hair as she walked through the crowd.
  2. Just loose the rope and free the goat.

noun: usually occurs in ‘on the loose’ (meaning ‘having escaped from somewhere or a confined place’) and ‘the loose’ (rugby: loose play).


  1. Everyone got scared because the assailant was on the loose.
  2. He’ll perform well in the loose.

Now that you know…

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