I am a sports fan. I love college football and it’s no secret this is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when I have to endure one of my biggest pet peeves. Why is it so difficult to know the difference between lose and loose?

Looking at the above photo, I hope you can understand the irony of the statement. If you can’t, never fear, I’m going to give you the definitions of lose and loose and hopefully it will help you use the proper word in the future.

And for the record, I no longer want to hear anyone complain about their team loosing a game again.

Lose is only a verb. To lose is to suffer a loss, to be deprived of, to part with, or to fail to keep possession of.

Loose is mainly an adjective used to describe things that are not tightly fitted. Where it is a verb, it means to release—for example, they loosed the dogs on the intruders—but the word is only rarely used this way. It also has a noun sense mainly confined to the idiom on the loose, which means at large. When you need a verb meaning to partially release or to relax, loosen is usually the best choice.