Loose vs. lose

Loose 主要當形容詞用,意為「寬鬆的;鬆動的;鬆散的;鬆弛的;疏鬆的;鬆軟的;不受束縛的,未予控制的;零散的;散裝的;不準確的;(組織) 不嚴密的;(糞便等) 稀的」等,如 Linda always wears loose garments. (琳達總是穿著寬鬆的衣服);I have got two loose teeth. (我有兩顆牙齒鬆動了);My shoelace is loose. (我的鞋帶鬆了);These seven countries have established a loose alliance. (這七個國家已建立一個鬆散聯盟);They let the dogs loose on the intruders. (他們放狗攻擊闖入者);They let the children loose on the cellphones. (他們讓小孩隨便玩手機);The movie actress managed to break/get/shake loose from her kidnappers. (那位女電影明星成功地掙脫綁匪的控制);The kidnappers had let/set/turned the movie actress loose on a dark country lane. (綁匪在一條黑暗的鄉間小路釋放了那位女電影明星);loose soil/stones (鬆土/碎石);loose change (零錢);Loose cigarettes are 5 pesos each. (散裝/零賣的香菸每支五披索);There were a few loose sheets of paper lying on the ground. (有幾張紙散落在地板上);It’s only a loose translation of the English song. (這只是那首英文歌曲不準確的翻譯);I had loose bowels (or I had diarrhea) all day long yesterday. (我昨天一整天都在拉肚子)。

Loose 亦可用作動詞和名詞,當動詞用時意為「鬆開;放鬆;鬆綁;放開;發射 (子彈或飛彈);射 (箭);使 (壞事) 失控」,時態變化為 loose, loosed, loosed, loosing, looses,如 Mary helped her son loose the laces of his shoes. (瑪麗幫她兒子解開鞋帶);They loosed the dogs on the intruders. (他們放狗攻擊闖入者),但這樣的用法非常罕見,一般都使用上述的 They let the dogs loose on the intruders.;He loosed our bonds. (他為我們鬆綁);The hunter loosed (off) at the wildebeest. (獵人對那隻牛羚射擊);A few drinks loosed his tongue. (幾杯黃湯下肚,他的話匣子就打開了 / 幾杯黃湯下肚,他的話就開始多了起來)。

Loose 與另一動詞 loosen 不僅拼字相近,而且是部分同義詞,如 A few drinks loosened his tongue. - to loose/loosen one’s tongue 意為「打開話匣子」。然而,若要表達部分鬆開、放鬆或使不那麼拘束、比較鬆動,則要使用 loosen 而不用 loose,如 The medicine can loosen the bowels. (這藥能通腸/通便 - 讓便比較好拉);The government’s control over the media has loosened in recent years. (近年來政府對媒體的控制變鬆了)。

Loose 的名詞用法僅限於 on the loose 這個片語,意為「(危險份子或動物) 脫逃的;(尤指) 從監獄脫逃的,逍遙法外的 (at large)」,如 The escaped criminal is still on the loose. (逃走的罪犯仍逍遙法外);The dangerous criminal escaped from prison last year and has been on the loose ever since. (那個危險的罪犯自去年越獄後一直逍遙法外)。

Lose 僅當動詞用,意為「喪失;失去;損失;遺失;丟失;迷失;輸;賠 (錢);(鐘錶) 走慢;使…迷惑」等,時態變化為 lose, lost, lost, losing, loses,如 Bruce lost his job last year. (布魯斯去年失業了);He lost his wife recently. (他最近喪妻);He lost his daughter in a car accident. (他女兒在車禍中喪生);She lost her sight in an accident. (她在一次事故中雙目失明);I lost interest halfway through the novel. (這本小說我看了一半就沒興趣了);I’ve lost my concert ticket. (我弄丟了演唱會入場券);She’s lost a lot of weight recently. (她最近減重不少);Japan lost 2–1 to China. (日本隊以 1 比 2 輸給中國隊);The company lost more than 500 million dollars last year. (這家公司去年虧損了五億多);My watch loses five minutes every day. (我的手錶每天慢五分鐘);I’m sorry, you’ve lost me there. (很抱歉,你把我弄糊塗了);Give it a try; you’ve got nothing to lose. (試試看吧,你又沒什麼好損失的)。由 lose 所構成的片語不在少數,它們大多頗為常用,值得學習,但礙於篇幅無法在此一一詳述,請勤查字典及其他參考資料。