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WebDragon (1204)

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Macintosh owner/user since 1987
Perl hacker since 2000
Linux (Redhat/Fedora) user since 2001

Journal of WebDragon (1204)

Thursday April 24, 2003
07:20 AM

Today's Rant: lose this looseness

[ #11823 ]

Lose -- (pronounced like ooze)

  • misplace,
  • suffer deprivation of,
  • suffer a defeat,
  • fail to keep or maintain

Loose -- (pronounced like juice)

  • not rigidly fastened or securely attached,
  • free from confinement,
  • not dense or compact in arrangement,
  • lacking in precision or exactness,
  • not in posession of either of two competing teams (as in 'a loose ball' or 'a loose puck')

This silly transposing of these two words has been going on for long enough. I'm even seeing this sort of thing showing up in what I would consider to be more respectable news articles and not simple blogs or slashdot comments where grammar checking (much less spell-checking) isn't something one normally does.

I.E. Apple will not 'loose' to Microsoft. Microsoft will not 'loose' to Open Source. I will not 'loose' my mind over this grade-school silliness. The word is lose, people. Get it right! :-)

...and if you don't get it right, you are not a looser, just a loser. :-P

Thus ends todays eyerolls and arm-waving; Not with a forfeit, but with a limper...

You may all groan now.

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  • But one of my favorite songs is Johnny Thunders' "Born To Lose"/"Born Too Loose". They mumble it so badly during the song that you can't tell which they're actually saying, and sometimes its called by one title, and sometimes the other.

    But I agree about getting the two words mixed up. Sometimes there's just too much reliance on spell checkers, instead of actually reading what you wrote.

  • Talk about use/utilize tomorrow!

    Suggested example: "I want to utilize a hash slice in my next project."

    • Advice an editor once gave me: "Don't overutilize 'utilize', overuse 'use'."
      • That falls under my second rule of writing. Don't show off by using big words. Show off by using the right words.

        • Bah! I love four-dollar words! :-)

          I especially love the peculiar askance glances people send your way when you use a particularly good one that *IS* in common usage... they just don't know it.

          To make matters worse, I'm an affirmed paronomasiac, and a firm believer in the aphorism, "If the clue wit's, share it". :-D

        • How about:

          Don't show off by using big words.
          Show off by using big thoughts.

          And since you obviously want us to ask: what is your first rule of writing? :)
          • Hm, that's a little different from my intent. I was thinking of the Mark Twain quote something like "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

            My first rule is, You own your own words. Make them count.

  • ...this was one of those misuses that I had always hoped would just go the hell away, but no, it seems to persist.

    Unfortunately, language being the user-defined morass that it is at times, there's a really good chance that 'loose' and 'lose' are going to become interchangeable within fifty years or even as few as ten. :(

    Ah well. I miss ironic, myself... :\


    You are what you think.