10

How can I say the opposite of "keep track"? I was trying to keep track of something but something happened and I lost the track.

I'd like to say "lose track". Is it possible to say it this way or is it just my funny attempt to speak English? :-)

19

Actually, lose track of is quite a common phrase:

to lose contact with someone; to forget where something is. I lost track of all my friends from high school. Tom has lost track of his glasses again.

  • 2
    Perhaps the most common usage is 'lose track of time' meaning to not realize how late it is. – Jeanne Pindar Sep 30 '11 at 17:21
8

Yes, you can say 'lose track'. It doesn't sound funny.

4

"Lose track" is perfectly acceptable, in the sense of misplacing or losing contact information or forgetting what you meant to be doing, but in the sense of "something happened and [you] lost [a thought]", you might rather say you were distracted by other thoughts, or sidetracked by other activities.

A colloquial phrase for being lost track of is "dropping off the radar". [See my Update 1 comment]

  • You "drop off the radar" if you/your activities cease to be noticed by others. If something drops off your radar, you've made a concious decision not to bother with it. These aren't the same as losing track, which is normally something you do accidentally and/or without noticing. – FumbleFingers Sep 30 '11 at 16:57
  • Note that "dropping off the radar" describes the thing that you lose track of, like "lost in the shuffle". I lost track of time and didn't water the plants or I lost track of what I was doing when you called (you lose track of something); but Watering the plants just got lost in the shuffle (the activity, watering the plants, gets lost) or I was so busy, watering the plants dropped off my radar (the activity drops off the radar). – aedia λ Sep 30 '11 at 16:58
  • @FumbleFingers I agree that I never hear from him anymore; he dropped off the radar describes not being noticed, and I would equate this to the more familiar "dropped off the grid" or dropped off the map as in, I can't find her contact information anywhere; she's dropped off the grid. While not the same as losing track I think it's useful to point out that they're used similarly when talking about things like a friend you're no longer in touch with. – aedia λ Sep 30 '11 at 17:05
  • Your dropped off the grid sounds a bit odd to me. So does dropped off the map, to be honest, but at least NGrams agrees that one does actually get used often enough. – FumbleFingers Sep 30 '11 at 17:12
  • Update 1 revised "for losing track" to "for being lost track of" in last sentence – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 30 '11 at 17:16

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