The Grammar Geek: Win Some, Loose Some

And the Grammar Geek is back!

A comment on one of my old Grammar Geek posts reminded me of something that makes me twitch: too many letters in lose. In other words, it seems like more and more geeks are spelling lose “loose” on various listservs, comments, tweets, and blogs.

  • lose: there are 12 definitions of this word in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but, in short, it means to become without something. You know, like losing weight, losing the software license key for MS Office, losing one’s mind… Note that losing something causes a loss. And you’re a loser.
  • loose: on the other hand, loose has fewer definitions (7 or so) from the same source, most meaning not dense, not fastened securely, or to set free. Note that loosing something sets it free, and if it comes back to you, it’s yours. And you’re probably not a loser–I guess you’d be a looser, but that just sounds funny, doesn’t it? And, while looser is a word, it means more loose, as opposed to one who looses.

If you don’t have a headache after that last sentence, I hope that you now understand how many times to use the letter o when you have misplaced something. (That would be once, for those of you who forgot…)