Sunday, July 12, 2009

"losing" versus "loosing"

I'm going to start coming off as a grammar nazi, but I don't care. One of those most common errors, it seems, is when people mix up losing and loosing. Typically, they mean losing but they write loosing for some reason:
That small Georgia town could turn into the type of ghost town that Detroit is now if Kia starts loosing money.
It's a bit odd, this inaccurate word choice. Lose and loose are pronounced differently and they share no meanings in common. 

To lose something means to be deprived of it, to be unable to find it, to not win it, to earn too little of it, etc. You lose money, lose a game, lose a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse when you break up or divorce, you lose a loved one when they die, you lose your mind, or you lose an argument. 

To loose, on the other hand, means to set something free, to release it, relax it, etc. It is far less common than lose and in situations where it is used, it is often interchangeable with the much more frequently used loosen. You loose ropes, you loose your grip, you loose the dogs, or even you loose your bowels. 

And my apologies to 3gyupsal (whose comment is above), lest it seems I'm picking on him. The only reason I chose to address this pet peeve at this particular time is that his sentence, in relation to an article at Brian's about Kia operating in Georgia and giving Detroit a run for its (shrinking supply of) money, offered a great opportunity to distinguish the two:
Detroit has been losing money, which has prompted Washington to loose money.
That should make it crystal clear. 

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2 comments:

  1. I once saw a group of university students storm the pitch to celebrate after a cricket match in my hometown. They were carrying a large banner intended to rub the visitors' noses in their defeat... but it said "LOOSERS!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. I await an opponent being so frightened by me or my team that they literally sh¡t their pants, just so I can call them "loosers!"

    WORD VERIFICATION: uni evil b

    ReplyDelete

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