Friday, June 04, 2004

lexical loosers

I have been doing a couple of reviews of articles for journals today. Right there, on the first page of the first, the author(s) talked about all that a particular area of sociology might loose if it fails to pay heed to the urgings of the article. This marked at least the 700th time I have seen the word "lose" misspelled as "loose" in noncausal materials written by someone with a bachelor's degree or higher. I realize that it goes through the spell-checker as fine, but, really, is that all that protects us from spelling four-letters-long words incorrectly.*

Perhaps as the result of not being a very coordinated child (or adult), I have known how to spend the word "lose" since at least the age of four. I don't get why people always misspell it, when they do misspell it, as loose. I do recognize that the u-with-an-umlaut phoneme may be phonetically spelled with "oo", I really do, but it's not like a single "o" never stands for the same sound, as in, say, "do." "Loose" and "lose" aren't even homophones. Nobody ever pronounces "noose" or "moose" or "goose" or "caboose" in such a way that it rhymes with "lose." Of all the many one-syllable words that rhyme with "lose," I think only "choose" rhymes with "lose." "Whose" rhymes with "lose" and is spelled with the same ending, and you never see it spelled "whoose." All kinds of other one-syllable words rhyme with "lose," including "booze," "bruise," "crews," "dues," "ewes," "nus," "poohs," "ruse," "shoes," "twos," "woos" and "yous." You never see these words misspelled "boose" or "broose" or "croose" or "doose" or "ewoose" or "noose" or "poose" or "roose" or "shoose" or "twoose" or "woose" or "yoose." And you never see "lose" misspelled "looze" or "luise" or "lews" or "lues" or "lewes" or "lus" or "loohs" or "luse" or "loes" or "los" or "loos" or "lous".

* Don't get me wrong: there are words of even less than four letters than are hard to spell, like "cwm", but these are much less common words than "lose."

1 comment:

Nick Hurley said...

Wow, you came up first in Google when I search 'do goose loose the yoose'