How Do I Use “Lose” And “Loose”?

Lose is the opposite of win, and the opposite of find. 

Loose is the opposite of tight, and the opposite of tied up or restrained.

Children’s book writer Phyllis Reynolds Naylor did a lot of writing when she was young, and she illustrated the stories she wrote. When she learned to draw lace, suddenly the heroines of her stories began to lose their clothing so young Phyllis could draw their lacy underwear. On another occasion, her mother explained the facts of life to her, and so young Phyllis wrote a “Manual for Pregnant Women,” complete with her own drawings. After she showed the book to her mother, the book turned up missing.

Barry Bonds’ father, professional baseball player Bobby Bonds, taught him many things. For example, he taught him competitiveness by playing pool with him at home. The winner of the game would get candy, while the loser had to do push-ups. Barry says, “When I played with my dad, he was such a competitor—he couldn’t lose.” In addition, Bobby taught his son not to lower himself in reaction to racists. When Barry was young, occasionally he got into fights with white boys who disliked him because of his color. One day, young Barry came home and told his father, “I don’t like white people right now.” Bobby told him, “Don’t ever come in my house like that again. Be proud of who you are. Do not allow their stupidity to make you stupid.”

French actor Françoise-Joseph Talma took his art seriously. Even when he was near death due to severe illness, he hoped to return to the stage. Mr. Talma had lost much weight, and his skin hung loosely on his body; however, when his friend Alexandre Dumas visited him, Mr. Talma touched the loose skin on his own cheeks and said, “What a truthful air this will give to the role of the aged Tiberius.”

Vince Lombardi was a great high school football coach before he became a great professional football coach. His St. Cecilia Saints, a Catholic team, won 25 games in a row before being held to a 0-0 tie by rival Union Hill. After the game, Mr. Lombardi and his wife met superfan and nun Sister Baptista. All of them were crying. Mrs. Lombardi said, “We didn’t lose the game.” Mr. Lombardi said, “But we didn’t win.” And according to Mrs. Lombardi, “Then we started crying all over again.”

Sometimes, nurses ask silly questions. When Quaker humorist Tom Mullen was in a hospital, he was standing up when he suddenly felt dizzy. He managed to buzz the nurses’ station before he passed out, and when the nurse arrived, he was lying on the floor, semi-conscious, trying to get up. The nurse looked down at him, then asked, “May I help you?” Mr. Mullen wishes today that he had been conscious enough to reply, “No, I’m just crawling about at 2 a.m. looking for loose change.”

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