It's "lose", not "loose"

I know, this has been brought up before. But I just had to create this thread. I was on the verge of correcting an esteemed and intelligent Doper over in a Great Debates thread over this “loose” thing. And I thought, that would be rude, and would ruin the flow of the debate. So, I promised myself I’d just post my little rant here, and get it out of my system.

When someone has lost something, they do not “loose” it, they “lose” it. One “O”. Also, it is “losing”, not “loosing”.

As in - “I am losing my patience with people spelling “lose” incorrectly”.

And - “Here, let me loose that knot a bit there.” And, “I saw him loosing the knot, and offered to help.”

No, I am no grammar queen. I spell things incorrectly all the time. And my grammar is often lacking. But certain things just drive me nuts. (Don’t get me started on apostrophes!)

Please, feel free to point out bad spelling and grammar trends that are making your anal-rententive soul cringe! This is the place for it! Feel free to correct my spelling and grammar. I won’t mind, as long as you are polite about it.

The subject title was supposed to read "It’s “lose”, not “loose”. I screwed it up. Oh dear. This is not getting off to a good start.

I do have one question for you? Would the proper word be “loosen” in a couple of your examples?

  1. “…loosen that knot…”
  2. “…loosening that knot…”
    I have not ever used the word loose as a verb, only as an adjective. Regional thing, perhaps?

I’ll bet you’re right, ellycat! Maybe it is a regional thing, too, though, because I certainly hear people say “let me loose that” a lot.

But “loosening” does sound better.

I wondered the same thing, because “loosen” sounds better, as in “let me loosen that knot.” But why that tense (is it past perfect?) in that case? We don’t say “let me taken that bag” or “let me given this back.” So wouldn’t “loose” be more correct here, even though “loosen” sounds better?

Yes, it does sound like a past tense, but on the other hand, one also “tightens” a knot. And it is possible to “heighten” things too, although perhaps more rarely used. Damn, I bet there is a clear explanation for these things, but I haven’t formally studied grammar. I just joined in for the pedantic rant, really.:slight_smile:

I’m glad someone has drawn attention to “loose” instead of “lose” as I thought I had better ignore it in case it is considered correct somewhere.

From Merriam-Webster on line:

Frankly, I had always heard and used “loosen”, but it appears (according to M-W) that both are correct.

FWIW, yosemitebabe, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s like people saying “all of the sudden” instead of “all of a sudden” (and what the hell kind of word in “sudden”, anyway), or “supposably” instead of “supposedly” - lots of people just don’t care enough to get it right.

Actually, it’s the title that got me to read the thread (although I suppose I would have read it anyway - I’m a sucker for pedantry ;)) - I thought it was some kind of Monty Python rant. :smiley:

[Mod Hat: ON]
Fixed the thread title, so that other people don’t come into this thread assuming it’s about the Monty Python “It’s” guy.
[Mod Hat: OFF]

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Thank you, John! Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!

Heh… I figured it was a rant about its vs it’s grammar… turns out it really WAS a grammar rant, just a different one! And YES loose vs lose bugs the crap out of me. That’s why I wear “Oops I Crapped My Pants”! I’m wearing them, and I just did!

Opal, I think you wanted the TMI thread for that one.

You loosed me there for a while.

Sorry, it’s an SNL spoof commercial.


::raises hand in air:::

::frantically waving::

Can I try!!
Loosen Up! :smiley:


The analogy doesn’t work. “Loose” is an adjective, while “bring” and “take” are not. Although it is strange that the “-en” is added to “loose” to go from adjective to verb, while with “take” it makes it go from verb to adjective. Hmmm.

The past tense of loosen is loosened, not loosen or loose, the past tense tighten is tightened, not tighten or tight, and the past tense tense of heighten is heightened, not heighten or height (or even high).
Geez, sounds like I writing some weird grammer poetry, doesn’t it?

(BTW, while we’re on the subject, it’s “weird”, not “weird”.)

My, how weird it looks to see two weirdly similar spellings of “weird” contrasted…

Well Yosemitebabe, since you asked; I hate it when people use “borrow” instead of “lend”. I’m sure it’s a regional thing. When we first moved to Wisconsin I couldn’t figure out what everyone was saying. My friend asked me if I could “borrow” something to her. Was she asking if I borrowed something and hadn’t yet returned it? Was I borrowing something? What the F???

SP2263, it is regional - it must be. I’ve never heard that. How bizarre! I don’t blame you for finding it annoying. Yikes.

By the way, while we’re on the subject, that sentence should more correctly be punctuated thusly:

And, yes, “anal-retentive” is hyphenated - when used as an adjective. :wink: