Miss / Lose / Waste
Miss and lose are often confused among Spanish speakers when it comes to speaking about appointments, opportunities, deadlines, etc. In some cases, waste is an even better option. Here are some contexts and examples in which they are used to help clarify the difference.
Lose: Used when a person physically misplaces or loses track of something tangible (keys, cell phone, book) or intangible (idea, will, motivation), whether intentional or not. Here are some examples:
I lost my passport while traveling through Europe.
She has simply lost the motivation to make an effort anymore.
Miss: Used when a person fails to arrive for a planned event or appointment or when an opportunity has passed someone by. Generally, the situation is unintentional. Here are some examples:
I woke up late this morning, so I missed the bus.
He missed his interview because he was sick.
I didn’t buy a lottery ticket this week and missed the chance to win the big prize.
Waste: Used when a person fails to take advantage of a situation or use their time or resources in a more productive way. This action may or may not be intentional. Here are some examples:
I just wasted three hours playing video games when I should have been studying.
Mark had to stand in line all morning for an appointment. What a waste of time!
My mother always told me not to waste food.
Try these exercises to test your understanding. Complete the sentences with either lose, miss, or waste. Be sure to change the form as needed based on the subject and tense.
1. The last bus leaves at 10:30a.m. Be sure not to _____________ it!
2. I didn’t ask the girl at the bar for her phone number last night. I really _________________ that opportunity.
3. People tend to ______________ a lot of time on the Internet when they could be doing other things.
4. People who are depressed sometimes _______________ the will to try new things.
5. Erika __________________ the doctor’s appointment because there was an accident.
6. I _____________ a lot of time in the department store returning some shoes I bought because I _______________ my receipt.
Answers from the Last Tidbit
1. The details from last year’s project are coming to me _little by little.
2. If you stay overtime at work, leave in a cab that way you can get home safe and sound.
3. I love coming into work before anyone else, there is such peace and quiet.
4. When writing the new job description, keep it short and sweet and to the point.
5. First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication. Then I would like to congratulate you on a job well done.
6. You keep repeating the procedure again and again, with no positive result. I think you should try a new one.