Loss versus Lost
When should you use loss vs. lost? The basic difference between these words is the difference between a noun and a verb. Both words deal with losing, but they are different parts of speech. Loss is a noun; lost is a verb but can also be an adjective.
When to Use Loss
Loss is a noun, and it means the fact or process of losing something or someone. Budget cuts within a corporation may lead to job loss, and a financial lossmay eventually lead to bankruptcy.
Examples of Loss
Example: After a devastating game 7 loss, the team was eliminated from the playoffs.
Example: In its first-ever financial disclosure released this week, the New York-based firm reported a net loss of $103.3 million on trading, with $13.5 million on digital assets and another $85.5 million of unrealized losses on those assets. Source: CNBC.com
Example: As streaming music has spread around the world, Spotify’s financial picture has remained much the same year after year: rapid revenue growth, with steady losses. Source: New York Times
Loss is used in two senses primarily: the first is the fact of losing (example 1); the second is an amount of money lost by a business or organization (example 2 and 3).
When to Use Lost
Lost is a verb, and it functions as the past participle of to lose. There are many different senses of to lose, but most of them simply boil down to unable to retain; getting rid of; and failing to win.
Example: The U.S. economy had lost two million jobs that year; without a government response, it would lose four million more in the next year. Source: The New Yorker
Example: After six months of steady dieting and exercise, I lost 25 pounds. Now I feel better than ever!
Example: Washington has lost 18 of its past 24 games and remains seven games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East following the Braves’ second straight loss to the New York Yankees. Source: The Washington Post
Since lost is a verb, you might see it in other conjugations as well. The noun losswill
only ever change to form the plural losses. Lost, however, has a number of different
Lastly, lost has an additional function as an adjective. You can describe something as being a lost cause for instance. In this case, lost is being used as an adjective to describe something that is unable to be foundor hopeless.
Examples of Lost as an Adjective
- We have solved the case of the lost car keys!
- While hiking, we got lost in the woods.
- The lost days of our youth are never coming back.
Recap: When to Use Loss or Lost
What separates these words is their grammatical function. A loss is something that you have lost. Sounds confusing, right?
Don’t worry. It all boils down to these two simple bullet points.
- Loss is a noun.
- Lost is a verb.
If you can understand this, you will be able to choose the correct word every time.