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Why do so many native English speakers (mainly Americans) wrongly use "loose" instead of "lose?"

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Just a theory but the mistake might be more common in America because the word 'loo' doesn't mean a toilet. Perhaps this is another word where they should 'Loze' the S and replace it with a Z.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

These loosers should of learned to read and write proper and spell right.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

They do? According to who/what?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Although literacy is important, why do you expect consistency from an inconsistent language ? Care for a little experiment ? Try pronouncing "bomb", "comb", "tomb" ? How do you explain "door", when you read "poor", "book", "cool", "look", "too", "zoo" ? Not to mention what makes "honest" special compare to "hone", "honey", "home" ? The list goes on and on.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Once in a very great while I've seen this, but really cannot remember any recent incidents.

I'm more concerned with the Britishers mixing up 'discreet' vs. 'discrete'.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

kibousha

Those are examples of different pronunciation, not incorrect usage. I constantly see people misusing "lose" and "loose" and they honestly don't know the difference. My theory is that using abbreviations when sending email messages via smartphones is adversely affecting people's spelling and grammar (me included).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder how JT knows that it's mainly Americans that confuse lose and loose. Japanese also mix these up. Years ago "lose" socks were all the rage.

What I get from Americans that bugs me is the use of the past tense of a verb for a past participle.

"Where's Mike?"

"He's went home."

"Where's the schedule?"

"It's wrote on the wall."

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I'm gonna loose my mind over lose change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The worst Americanism for me is the misuse of the word momentarily; it does not mean soon, it means for a very short period of time.

e.g. "He will be here momentarily". Aargh.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Brainiac, if you compare "loose" with "choose," kibousha has a point. That's probably why a lot of people confuse it too. Lose vs loose, choose vs chose, English spelling is pretty messed up...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do so many native English speakers (mainly Americans) wrongly use "loose" instead of "lose?"

Because they're ignorant ^_^

Perhaps this is another word where they should 'Loze' the S and replace it with a Z.

Ah, another corruption of the Queen's English.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Because that's what they are taught in school?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

@Thunderbird Let's be honest, the 'Queen's English' i.e. spoken by the upper claases, is pretty ridiculous. 'Het' for 'hat', 'pah' for 'power' and vowels disappearing all over the place. I remember Kenneth Williams pronouncing 'abominable secretary' in a lip-wobbling parody of the snobs.

American English is getting a hard time here. It's spelling is generally more logical than British English. 'Center' seems more logical to me than 'centre' and 'jail' is easier to read than 'gaol'. However, expressions like 'I'll write you back soon' are just abominable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Those who blame their own mistakes on the 'inconsistencies' of the English language are simply making excuses for their own failure to get to grips with their native tongue. Every natural language has irregular grammar/spelling. Live with it.

But whoever supposed Americans were 'native English speakers' ??? (ducks)

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

It's spelling is generally more logical than British English.

No, not necessarily. sigh

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Readers, please note the question is about word usage, not British English vs American English.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see "loose" used wrongly on mainly British forums too. I've always seen it as an indication of youth rather than nationality. Perhaps I should start using it too.

For those uncomfortable with "Americanisms" and other "corruptions of the Queen's English", be careful that the following words don't apply to you.

"Thou eunuchs of language; thou quacks, vending the nostrums of empirical elocution."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because they are "loosers".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Jimizo

These loosers should of learned to read and write proper and spell right.

Thunderbird2 got there first ! I was about to point out the same misuse of "there/their/they're and I also noted "could of" instead of "could have". There are quite a lot of inconsistencies in pronunciation too : "dough, rough, bough..." but that's another story...

I believe I would also have said : "spell correctly" but maybe that was the point ? (Since you also wrote "loosers"...)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"nowt to do with class"

But oft times to do with quackery. :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The same as with saying 'I could care less' instead of 'I couldn't care less' and the overuse of irregardless (which IS a real word): people either don't know or don't care.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a New Yorker: I have never heard this from a native speaker

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Anyway, to clarify my point - the English language is being ripped apart through careless usage on the internet, not only via forums but also thanks to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Not as bad as text speak, but still pretty annoying.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I’m quite aware of the difference in usage between “lose, “loose, and even “loss,” (dare I brag?), and I consider myself to be something of a grammar Nazi over even the most trivial mistakes and would notice if my fellow 'Mericuns were beating up on "Lose" and "loose." I haven't noticed anything more or less frequent.

If misusage is occurring in the written word, then perhaps that's where this question comes from. But English speakers the world over make the same mistake, just as they do with "their," "there," and "they're" or "necessary." But spoken misuse of "lose" and "loose?" I don't think so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What Americans are you guys hanging around with?@Dagon, also being a New Yorker, I have never heard anyone speak these terms in the manner written by the article and some comments.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I've seen plenty of Brits using loose on forums, seems to be a generational thing. It's only going to get worse as the 'txt' language starts becoming commonplace replacements.

It will hpn, mrk my wrdz.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"She's loose as a goose. So it is time to lose her." Put that in ur pipes & smoke it!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Can you make some examples of misuse? To me it is clear that the meaning of "loose" (not fitting tightly) as and adjective, whereas "lose" is a verb... I don't see where it is wrong

"It's wrote on the wall."

Shouldn't be "It's written on the wall?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Could of instead of could have seems much more common a mistake. Where in hell did that come from?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could of instead of could have seems much more common a mistake. Where in hell did that come from?

People started abbreviating 'could have' as 'could've' which in turn seems to have been expanded to 'could of'. Only reason I can think of. Either that or this just ignorant of the correct use of the phrase.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I find that so many shops in Japan misuse the word "close" as in "The shop is close today", when it should say closed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guys, you should be more serious here, this is a real problem...

Every day thousands of english speakers sit in front of a text they try to understand and.... run into "loose".

Do you really want all of them to remain puzzled, because now they are totally unable to understand what the author wanted to say!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JoiceRojo,

"Loose" can be used as an adjective, as you say, but it could also be used as a verb, "He loosed off a shot at the intruder," or a noun, "He played well in the loose (Rugby term)."

It's probably better to think of words in English not as fixed parts of speech, but as words that can be used as various parts of speech according to context.

table - noun - They sat at the table

table - verb - I'd like to table the issue for a few weeks.

table - adjective - Table Mountain

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bertie

But can "loose" be used as an adverb? And if not, what are we to make of Shakespeare's "Play fast and loose with faith." (King John) Did he perhaps make the same mistake as the spotty youth of today?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The phrase play fast and loose isn't limited to Shakespeare, it's a quite common expression often used in modern English.

I have never heard anyone speak these terms in the manner written by the article

It isn't speech that's the problem, it's the inability of some people to write/spell correctly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"it's a quite common expression often used in modern English."

Indeed, but can we be sure of the writer's intention any more? Play fast and lose sounds like a clever proverb. As we say in these parts, festino lente.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Without repeat evidence of the crime, you're looking at possibility of a typo. Single-character difference.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks Bertie, but I often don't come across phrases like you say:

He loosed off ...

I don't relate the word "loose" or "loosed off" with "lose" i think rather of the composite "loose off" which has a meaning if you look up on the dictionary

"it's a quite common expression often used in modern English."

Indeed, but can we be sure of the writer's intention any more? Play fast and lose sounds like a clever proverb. As we say in these parts, festino lente.

Again I looked up on the internet:

So what does it actually mean to "play fast and loose" with something? Shakespeare didn't think this one up all by himself. Before Shakespeare was even alive, this was the name of the game. Literally. People would play fast and loose by placing two belts in a coil on the ground. Someone would be asked to find the true center of the loop by placing a stick in it. The person playing would have to get a stick to hold fast to the belt when it came loose (because it was pulled on either end).*

So it turns out that one never finish learning things haha...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...the Queen's English

That has been the subject of some debate, of course. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Harry gatto, thanks. I believe I'm one who had been misusing the word momentarily.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What ? I speak perfectly well, America's Best. Hahaha !

English is used differently in English speaking countries. Just like other languages. Example Spain - Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Venezula, Dominican Republic, and Philippines. Comparing Spain and other spanish speaking countries. The language is drastically taught different with some similarities.

China - Japan, Taiwain, Hong Kong and other countries that use Chinese characters.

Chinese characters - are taught, used and pronounced slightly different from the original language from China.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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