Friday, 25 April 2014

Getting things straight: Lose vs Loose

Dear World,

I'm not normally one for lording good grammar over others who either don't care about or are unaware of their literary errors. I get it, not everyone is that bothered, mistakes happen, not everyone proofreads their text messages or Facebook statuses as I do.

But I've decided to break my silence. Because I've noticed one particular error that is becoming increasingly common. I've seen it a number of times, mostly on the internet - Facebook, forums, emails, twitter - but last week it appeared in a book I was proofreading.

Of course I'm going to notice these things, it's my job. But I was doing the final read through of a book. A proper, big publisher's book. A book that was about to go to press. A book that had not only been written by somebody, but that had then been edited and laid out and printed to be sent to me to do one. final. read-through.

It was so striking, and I had seen it so often, that when I saw it printed in this book, I had to look it up just to make sure that I hadn't got it wrong. Maybe the rest of the internet and this author was correct, and I had it wrong all along!

So what was this error, I hear you cry!

The difference between Lose and Loose.

Let's get things straight here and now. These are two separate words. They are spelt differently. They are pronounced differently. They have entirely different meanings.

I mean, I can understand, if spelling isn't your strong point, that Their, There and They're can get confusing. I can almost see how To, Too and Two can be a bit problematic.

But Lose and Loose? They are entirely different words!

verb (past participle: lost)
Be deprived of, or cease to have or retain something
e.g. Be careful not to lose your keys
I would like to lose weight
Not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached
e.g. I have a loose tooth
Do you have any loose change?

You do not need to loose weight.
You do not loose your keys.

It is entire, absolute nonsense.

So, I'm glad we've got that straight. If we could all work together to prevent the spread of this unnecessary nonsense, I'm sure the English language would appreciate it.

Many thanks,


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