Does anyone have a good way of remembering when to choose lose instead of loose?
I often find myself mistakenly using loose in emails and such when I really mean lose (which, in my mind, should be pronounced loss).
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One suggestion for remembering lose is to pronounce the word out loud:
If it has a voiced Z sound, then it’s “lose.” If it has a hissy S sound, then it’s “loose.”
Of course, this might not help if you think of loss when you see lose.
Some other suggestions for remembering lose rely on spelling:
One way to remember the difference between the two words is to think that "lose has lost an 'o'".
or further mnemonics and a lose-loose quiz here:
Loose with its two "o's" should remind you that there is too much space so something is "loose" as in a pair of loose (or roomy) pants.
I agree with @kiamlaluno, though: You hardly ever want to use "loose" as a verb in modern writing. If you intentionally use "loose," it's usually as an adjective: "My shoelace is coming untied; it's loose." If you can remember to check whether you're trying to use the word as a verb, that's probably easier than any of these mnemonics.
As verb, loose means
If the verb you are using doesn't have one of those meaning, then you are probably using lose.
I am losing the game. (It's not I am loosing the game.)
I have lost appetite. (It's not I have loosen appetite.)
The ropes were loosed. (Differently, it would mean you had some ropes that you don't find anymore.)
Alas, I don't know of any quick mnemonics. I think most people are either just very good at these words, and don't need any special tricks; or they are perennially having trouble.
I assume you know the difference when you hear them, right? So you somehow have to remember that loose both looks like and rhymes with goose, moose, and noose. Interestingly (and unfortunately), I can't think of anything lose both looks like and rhymes with, but probably best is to try to associate it with hose and nose, to at least get the 'z' sound.
Yeah, this isn't really an on-the-spot mnemonic; more of something to just practice and try to train yourself with. Hopefully it's "catchier" than straight-up memorization of the two words, at least.
Hmm... still kind of on the weak side, but does it help to see them both in a single (vaguely plausible) sentence? Like
Make sure to tie it real tight, because if it's loose, you'll lose it.
Um, that's all I got.