I often see people write something like:
“I’m going to loose my mind.”
“She was afraid of loosing the love of her life.”
“How can I invest in the stock market without loosing too much?”
They’re using “loose” when what they really mean is “lose.”
Loose vs. lose
For the most part, loose gets used an adjective. It means free of tight restraints or bonds. “Her hair was loose,” is one example. Or maybe it was in a loose ponytail, meaning that she didn’t tie it too tightly.
Sometimes, you can also use loose as a verb that means to release something (or someone). You’re freeing them from a restraint or bond. When you say, “I’m going to loose my mind,” it sounds like you’re about to unleash your mind on the world, setting it loose on everyone.
In contrast, lose is a verb meaning to misplace something or get deprived of it in various ways. You can lose your keys and your sense of humor. Hopefully you’ll recover both.
People worry about losing their money in the stock market. They’re afraid of losing the love of their life to death or because of hurtful behavior. Losing isn’t always negative, though. If you lose yourself in some music, for example, the temporary parting from self-consciousness can feel pretty good.
The confusion between loose and lose is understandable. In some situations, there’s a strong connection between the two. For example, if you tie your birthday balloon loosely to a chair, it may break free and float away. You lose your balloon because it was too loose. If something isn’t tightly restrained, or if you free it from its bonds, you may wind up misplacing it or getting deprived of it.
Also, people get mixed up because of the similarities in spelling. One ‘o’ vs. two. But it’s important to understand the differences between the words.