That "suspect extension" is exactly what's bothering you, no? As in, parents don't host their underage children at breakfast, and companies don't host workdays for their employees. Anyone who wants to host something had better invite outsiders. And yet when I checked some recent news citations, I realized that outsiders aren't necessarily the key. I read, "China is to host a maritime security exercise in the East China Sea" (fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were to join in). And "Emel Kay will host a book signing and hula show." In each case, I'd say, the word host is off—not because outsiders aren't involved but because the outsiders are being offered something other than hospitality. All in all, I'm with you, then: It's a mistake to abandon hold (and have and give and so on) just because host has begun doing some of the same work. Host can't do all of it—at least not well.
Laura LoGerfo, of Washington, D.C., writes, "People often say all told when referring to the sum of damage, ills, members of an audience, etc. Wouldn't the correct spelling be all tolled?"
All tolled probably does make more intuitive sense nowadays—but with so-called set phrases that's scarcely ever the point. The Oxford English Dictionary makes clear that one meaning of tell is, or used to be, roughly, "count." For instance, Daniel Defoe, in Robinson Crusoe (1719), wrote, "He could not tell twenty in English, but he numbered them, by laying so many stones in a row, and pointing to me to tell them over." It's from this sense of tell that we get the expression all told.
Rory M. Wohl, of Burton, Ohio, writes, "I can't take it anymore. It seems that the writer of at least one article in practically every newspaper or magazine I pick up has used the word loose where lose is correct. A recent newspaper article about a baseball player reported that he has 'a nerve problem in his right elbow that has caused him to loose muscle mass in his right hand.' I don't know what punishments Word Court is allowed to give out, but please make this one of your most severe."
I rooted around in a news database to make sure your quote wasn't just an isolated typo. It isn't: I immediately found a newspaper feature about bicycling whose author admitted that he "could stand to loose a few pounds." I found a piece about auto racing in which someone "didn't want any of his cars to loose a lap." Another piece about auto racing, in a different publication, quoted someone as saying, "You might loose a couple positions making adjustments during yellow flag stops."
Older language books for grownup native speakers hardly ever bothered to explain the distinction between loose and lose. The authors of some newer books, though, have evidently decided that more readers will benefit from a discussion of the subject than will consider it an insult to their intelligence. I'd like to think we've caught this trend early enough that lose can still be defended against those who have, um, lost sight of the word, its spelling, and its meaning. Though lose and loose do have a bit of history in common, their contemporary senses don't overlap and aren't easily confused. If America looses a missile, that's quite different from our losing a missile—thank God. Let's all do our bit to make sure it stays that way.
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