Preparing for the 'oposiciones': collocations of to lose/to miss/to waste

To miss, to lose and to waste can mean 'perder' in Spanish, so students are liable to use them wrongly. That's why, to avoid mistakes, you must learn in what contexts you can use each one of them properly: if what you mean is that you were too late to catch your train, for example, you  say that "you missed it"; if you can't find the key to your house, that "you lost it", and if you used more time than was necessary, that you wasted it." Here are some of the main collocations of these three verbs to help you use them correctly:

to miss

to miss a class, a lecture, a performance [perder(se) una clase, una conferencia, una actuación]
to miss an opportunity (perder una oportunidad)
to miss the bus, the train/the plane (perder el autobús, el tren, el avión)
to miss sb/sth (echar de menos a alguien/algo)
to miss a shot (fallar un disparo)
to miss the mark/target (no dar en el blanco/la diana)
to miss a place (no ver, pasar por alto: we missed the post office)
to miss a line (saltarse una línea)
to miss what sb says (no captar o entender lo que alguien dice)
to miss a beat (the heart) [dar un vuelco (el corazón)]
to miss one’s footing (dar un traspiés)

to lose

to lose sth/sb (perder algo o a alguien)
to lose a game/a match/a championship (perder un juego, un partido, un campeonato)
to lose sb sth (costar, hacer perder algo a alguien: the mistake lost me my job la equivocación me costó el puesto de trabajo)
to lose sb (zafarse, deshacerse de un perseguidor)
to lose consciousness (perder el conocimiento)
to lose one’s way (perderse, extraviarse)
to lose face (desprestigiarse, quedar mal)
to lose heart (desanimarse)
to lose one’s breath (perder el aliento)
to lose one’s figure (perder la línea)
to lose one’s head (perder la cabeza)
to lose one’s heart (enamorarse)
to lose one’s nerve (acobardarse)
to lose one’s mind (volverse loco)
to lose one’s temper (perder los estribos)
to lose one’s touch (perder facultades)
to lose sight of sth/sb (perder algo o a alguien de vista)
to lose touch/contact with sb (perder el contacto con alguien)
to lose time (perder tiempo, minutos, etc.); atrasar (un reloj)
to lose the thread of sth (perder el hilo)
to lose weight (perder peso)

to waste

to waste sth [perder, malgastar, desperdiciar (el tiempo, dinero, esfuerzo, alimento, ocasión), despilfarrar (recursos, dinero), desaprovechar (espacio, oportunidad)]


Fill in the blanks with the appropriate form of to lose, to miss or to waste, as required:

a.- At the last minute, he ...... his nerve
b.- You’ve ..........weight
c.- We’ve already ..... too much time and energy on that project
d.- You have nothing ............ by telling the truth
e.- Her heart ...... a beat
f.- In the end, my efforts were not entirely ..........
g.- This is a match our team can’t afford ...........
h.- I’m afraid he’s ..... his touch
i.- The bullet ...........his head by only a few inches
       j.- I’m sorry I ......your lecture


a.- lost; b.- lost; c.- wasted; d.- to lose; e.- missed; f.- wasted; g.- to lose; h.- losing/lost; i.- missed; j.- missed

From my book Short Stories to Help you Increase your Vocabulary (out of print).

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