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Language tip of the week: lose vs loose

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the spelling of the words lose and loose:

Don’t confuse lose (a verb) and loose (an adjective).

Lose is a verb meaning ‘to stop having something’. It is spelled with only one ‘o’ and is pronounced /luːz/:
✗ She was afraid of loosing him.
✓ She was afraid of losing him.

is an adjective meaning ‘not tight’ or ‘not firmly fixed’. It is spelled with a double ‘o’ and is pronounced differently, /luːs/:
Christina was dressed in shorts and a loose cotton shirt.

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