Word Confusion: Lose vs. Loose

Dear Copy Bitch: Your “Word Confusion” tips are great. Because of your help, I stopped myself from making a Then/Than mistake today. Got any more?

—John M, Princeton, Mass.

Answer: Have I got more? That’s like asking George Clooney if he’s got sexy. Another common mistake: lose vs. loose. There’s an easy way to remember the difference between these two words: you “lose” the extra “o” when you mean “fail to keep or maintain” (i.e., “to lose”).

Or think of it like this: the double Os mean you need extra room. You gotta keep it loose.


I guarantee my pants won’t be loose after Thanksgiving, which means I’ll need to lose the extra sweet-potato-pie poundage.