(Today’s tip was a request from a friend, which made me feel absurdly gratified. Grammar matters to more than just me!)

Probably because of their visual similarity to “chose” and “choose,” people tend to confuse “lose” and “loose” as different tenses of the same word (the way “chose” is the past tense of “choose”).

My friends, they are NOT the same word. They are not related in any way. Lose is, of course, “to cease to have” something–a verb; something that is loose (an adjective) “is not firmly fixed in place.”

So how do you keep it straight? You can think of the adjective/verb difference, or you can use this tip: If you mean “to cease to have something,” use lose with one O. You can remember it by thinking that it has ceased to have the second O.