#AtoZ: L is for Lose and Loose, Loosey-goosey, and LOL
Oh Heck! More Writing Quirks.
Writers confuse lose and loose on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites where posting mistakes is common practice. This next heart-broken person on Facebook misspelled lose on purpose, or at least I hope he or she did.
1. Lose is a verb and only a verb. It has one o.
Meaning: To experience a loss of something either by accident, inattention, or negligence.
You lose things…
** your money
** your purse
** your cat or dog
** your zebra
** some weight
** your temper
** your patience
** your way
** your head
If you lose your dog, put an ad in the paper.
If you lose your wallet, report it to the police.
If you lose your zebra, call the local zoo.
If you lose weight, buy new clothes.
If you lose your dog, put an ad in the paper.
Ways to remember spelling of lose.
Make up sentences with words that have similar spelling.
** You snooze, you lose, but lose the extra o.
** “Loose laces lose races.” (Edgar H. Schuster, Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers Through Innovative Grammar Instruction, Heinemann, 2003)
** Lose is like nose, rose, hose, and pose. These words don’t rhyme with lose, but they all have one o.
2. Loose is most frequently used as an adjective, but it can also be a verb, an adverb, and even part of a noun.
Loose as an adjective
Meaning: free from restraint, not firmly fastened, not tight or compact.
Clothing can be loose when you lose weight:
** Loose dress
** Loose pants
** Loose shoes
** Loose belt
** Loose hat
** Loose shirt
** Loose skirt
** Loose blouse
Loose dogs prowl the neighborhood.
The shingles on the roof are loose.
A loose curtain rod might fall.
Compound words with loose
** loose-leaf notebook
** loose-tongued…talking too much
Loose can be a verb. to unfasten, untie. loose, loosen,
** break loose
** get loose
** let loose
** set loose
Your Dalmatian will get loose if you do not tie him up tightly.
Loosen the ties on your shoes when your feet hurt.
Loose can become an adverb: loosely
** Loosely pack the strawberries in boxes so they won’t get crushed.
Loose can be part of a noun or noun phrase
** loose-strife or loose strife…purple flowers
** loose smut…diseases of cereal grasses
** loose ends…unfinished details on a job or project
** loose lips “loose lips sink ships”
** loose cannon…someone whose words or actions can be dangerous to others. Someone with unpredictable behavior.
The manager of the project was fired because he did not finish up the loose ends.
Ways to remember the spelling of loose:
Make lists of rhyming words. Make silly sentences and notice the unique features of the words in the sentences.
** loose, goose, moose, noose, papoose, caboose
A goose, a moose, and a papoose all have two eyes and two o’s.
The loose goose, the loose moose, and the papoose all jumped on the caboose.
Look! Two o’s in loose, goose, moose, noose, papoose, and caboose.
You won’t find loosey-goosey as a word in Garner’s Modern American Usage, The American Heritage Dictionary, or Webster’s New World Dicionary. You can find loosey-goosey on the Internet at Wiktionary.org
Loosey-goosey means visibly relaxed, not tense. Laid-back. Casual attitude (sometimes too casual). “Loose as a goose.”
Loosey-goosey chased the moosey-moosey.
4. LOL. Acronym for Laugh Out Loud. You won’t find LOL in Webster’s New World Dictionary, GarnerModern American Usage, or the American Heritage Dictionary, but you will find it here on WIKIPEDIA online.
WIKIPEDIA says that LOL is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. By the way, if you don’t LOL, you can always lol, which is more like a soft laugh. It’s a bit stronger than the smiley emoticon.
The WIKIPEDIA article posts the standard warning to students that using Internet slang, silly acronyms, emoticons in written assignments will not excite teachers or future bosses.
But now, you can LOL when you view this video of a dog who loses his head when he is let loose in a heap of leaves. Don’t miss this.
See the hilarious video here: LOL.
Here’s another take on lose/loose and nine other words that need attention: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling
Your turn: What quirky errors or interesting words do you find in writing?
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator and now
nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.
Oh Heck! Another Quirky Writing Error, theme for the 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.