Don’t be a “looser” – remember the difference between loose and lose

No wonder people find English confusing

Just try this exercise to see for yourself.

Say the word  – CHOOSE.

Now apply the same pronunciation to the word LOOSE.

Any yet LOSE not LOOSE is pronounced like CHOOSE.

It’s funny I’ve helped serious business people remember the difference between LOOSE and LOSE – and I do exactly the same thing for my 9-year-old son Orlando  with his homework.

word nerd CU

My son learns better through seeing and through tactile learning.

Now he will always remembers how to tell the difference between LOSE and LOOSE.

I heard this LOOSE memory device somewhere else –  and I thought “how cool” and I applied it to help my son with his homework.

belt holes

Just think of a belt and the holes in he belt are like the Os.

When you add another O to the belt and another O to the word turn LOSE into LOOSE  – the belt gets LOOSER on you.


I shared the same memory device with business people from ESL background (English as a Second Language) and they found it memorable.

One exec even shared with me later that he used  the memory device to help his son and once again it worked!

My son thanked me for my learning secret. I’ve got hundreds of memory devices I’ve collected over the years.

Here some other memory devices to tell the difference between: BARE and BEAR, ADVISE and ADVICE and VILE and VIAL.






TB training group

English can be especially confusing for people who come from backgrounds with more consistent languages.

Many languages such as Hindi  are more consistent that English with spelling and with where the emphasis falls on different syllables in words.

Language such as Hindi are highly “phonetic” – the pronunciation of new words can be reliably predicted from their written form. Not so with English!

I always remember a super-smart engineer from an African nation pronouncing the S in ISLAND and saying  thing like:

“The new port will be built on the IS-land.

Logically, that makes sense in a consistent language.

People from ESL  backgrounds often make “mistakes” in spelling and punctuation because they apply the “rules” they’ve learned with some words to other words that look similar – for example LOOSE and CHOOSE.


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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.


tony biancotti


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