Lose Past Tense: What Is It?

The word lose is an irregular verb, which means you can’t conjugate it into its past tense form simply by adding -ed to the end.

Instead, the past tense of lose is lost.

This article will explain the past tense of the infinitive verb to lose and help you use this word correctly in your writing.

Past Tense of Lose

So, how do you conjugate the verb to lose into its past tense form? You need to switch out the E for a T to create the word lost.

Lose present tense vs lose past tense

Here are some examples of what this looks like in a sentence:

  • “I always lose my hat in the garden.” (present tense) “I lost my hat in the garden.” (past tense)
  • “She loses the contest.” (present tense) “She lost the contest.” (past tense)
  • “We sail until we lose sight of the shore.” (present tense) “We sailed until we lost sight of the shore.” (past tense)

Lose Verb Forms

In English, we conjugate verbs into many different forms. Let’s talk about what the different past tense forms look like for the verb lose.

Lose Past Tense

The simple past tense of lose is lost. For example, you might say, “I lost my keys when I was running errands yesterday.”

Lose Past Participle

The past participle of to lose is also lost. This is the form we use for the past perfect tense.

The difference between the past participle and the past perfect tense is that the past participle is a verb form, while the past perfect is a tense.

For example, you might say, “She had lost all hope for the future.”

Lose Present Participle

The present participle of to lose is lose. This is the form we use for the past continuous tense, as well as the present continuous tense and the future continuous tense.

For example, you might say, “He is lose the election by a landslide.”

If you’re ever unsure about whether you’re using the right verb form, you can run your writing through ProWritingAid, which will highlight any grammatical errors for you.

ProWritingAid correcting lose to lost

Examples of Lose in Past Tense Used in Sentences

Here are some examples of the past tense of lose in popular English books.

“She was going to elaborate but lost courage when she saw Martha’s expression darken.”—Clare Chambers, Small Pleasures

“Without Tully, Kate’s life had lost its shape, and like some overwashed sweater, no amount of positioning or folding could make it right again.”—Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane

“How funny, that such a thing should drop so delicately from my mind. A falling, fluttering leaf. What else have I lost that has fallen free?”—Charlotte McConaghy, Migrations

“There’s something strange about this Saturday and I realize what it is. For the first time since I lost Susie, I feel a glimmer of happiness.”—Mhairi McFarlane, Just Last Night

“Those days after Giovanni lost his job, we dawdled; dawdled as doomed mountain climbers may be said to dawdle above the chasm, held only by a snapping rope.”—James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

Now you know how to conjugate lose to the past tense! Just lose the E and add a Tand you’ll be good to go.


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