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How to Improve Your Grammar and Writing by Using Loose, Lose and Loss Correctly

Updated on October 2, 2011
Improve Grammar and Writing
Improve Grammar and Writing | Source

Sometimes words that don’t sound the same are confused by writers because they look the same. Prime examples of this phenomenon are the words loose, lose and loss. Improve your grammar and your writing will improve, too. If you have ever had problems keeping one or more of these words straight, read below on how to learn their correct use once and for all.

Write the Meanings on Cards

First, look up the meanings of these three words and write them on cards that you can keep by your computer. It’s often quicker to look at a card than to look up three different words online, and you can look at the cards several times a day.

Avoid Using Loose Incorrectly

Correct the biggest mistake first: that’s using loose when the correct word is lose. Many people write that they want to “LOOSE some weight.” That wouldn’t be pretty! It would just hang around over the belt as in hang loose! What they mean to write is they want to “LOSE some weight.” You can remember the difference by learning to say them out loud correctly: loose rhymes with goose and noose; lose rhymes with shoes, fuse and whose. The double o in loose is like a double chin that hangs down – it’s loose.

Avoid Using Loses Incorrectly

The other mistake that often occurs is when someone writes LOSES when the right word is LOSSES. A person will write “the stock market has had big LOSES recently.” What they should have written is “big LOSSES recently.” The word losses rhymes with bosses and tosses. Say it out loud: losses vs. loses. If you lose one of the s’s in losses you get loses as in loser.

Study the Word LOOSE

Loose: (normally an adjective) Not confined or restrained; free; unbound; readily available (loose cash); not firmly fastened down (loose tooth); not tight; irresponsible (loose talk); not precise or exact (loose translation). Think “loose as a goose.” These words rhyme. Say them out loud and associate the correct pronunciation with the visual spelling of loose.

Study the Word LOSE

Lose: (verb) To bring to ruin or destruction (lost in a storm); unable to find or mislay (lose your keys); to get rid of (lose unwanted weight); to fail to keep or maintain (lose one’s temper). Say all these examples out loud so you associate the proper pronunciation with the visual spelling lose.

Study the Word LOSS

Loss: (noun) A losing or being lost; an instance of this; the damage, trouble, disadvantage, etc. caused by losing something; the person, thing, or amount lost.People do lose money in the market, but those occurrences are called losses, as in stock market losses, not stock market loses. Say the words out loud and connect the right pronunciation with the visual spelling of each word.

Final Comments

The definitions above were taken from Webster’s New World College Dictionary, third edition. This is a great dictionary by the way.

You might want to have a dictionary close by or online dictionaries in your favorites. Use one as you write.

As we improve our grammar our writing seems to improve as well.

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    • Rob McKelvie profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob McKelvie 

      4 years ago from USA and UK

      Please do! Thank you!

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 

      4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      I really enjoyed your HubPage on Grammar. I think that you hit the nail on the head on the points you made. It’s also a great public service to help other writers. May I reference this HubPage on mine, so that you may gain more traffic, allowing my readers more information? Michele

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