Loss vs Lost – Pick The Correct Word

There are a lot of tricky words in the English language, such as homophones. Homophones are a pair (or more) of words with the same pronunciation but with different spellings and meanings. Examples include discreet vs discrete and aisle vs isle. These are commonly confused words. But not all of them are homophones, even if some might seem like they are. Take loss vs lost, for example. They only sound alike because of the subtlety of the T at the end, but they don’t have the same pronunciation. However, people often get confused with the two not only for their similarity in sound, but also because they are often used in similar contexts.


This is a noun that pertains to an instance of having something taken away from you or being unable to keep something. Loss is also the opposite of a win. You often hear this word used in competitions or unfortunate events.


  • The business experienced a huge loss in sales this year due to the economic crisis.
  • So far, the team has had four wins and two losses this season.
  • I heard about the passing of your great aunt. I’m so sorry for your loss.
  • Because of the drought, there will be a loss of water in some villages for a few hours a day.  
  • He was at a loss for words when they called his name during the announcement of winners.


Lost is a verb and also an adjective. When used as a verb, it pertains to the past tense and past participle of lose. Lost as an adjective, on the other hand, refers to something that cannot be found. It also pertains to being unable to distinguish your whereabouts. 


  • It was a great game, and both teams did so well, but in the end, our team lost the championship.
  • I’m sorry I yelled at you earlier. I shouldn’t have lost my temper.
  • We took a wrong turn, and now we’re lost.
  • The whole family searched all around town for their lost dog and finally found him hiding in their neighbor’s garage.
  • Don’t bother with him anymore. He’s a lost cause.

Loss vs Lost

Now, it can get very confusing since both words have to do with losing. Remember that one is a noun and the other, a verb. Let’s use a sports example to better paint the picture. When the team lost, it counted as another loss.

If you’re still confused, here’s a trick to help you remember:

When it ends in an S, it’s not a win, but you tried your best. If T is where it ends, it’s “lose” but in the past tense.

Remember the rhyme and you’ll be fine. And if you make a mistake, don’t take it as a loss. Nothing is lost, only knowledge is gained.