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We use miss as a verb to mean ‘not hit or reach something’:

The car went out of control; it missed a tree and hit a wall.

He threw the empty can towards the rubbish bin but he missed!

We also use miss to mean ‘not be present at, or be too late for, a planned event or activity’:

I’ll have to leave early otherwise I’ll miss my train.

Not: I’ll lose my train

We missed the start of the film.

We use miss when we don’t understand, notice or hear something:

Sorry, I missed what you just said. Could you repeat it, please?

I cleaned the window but I think I missed some bits! (I didn’t notice them when I was cleaning.)

We use miss to refer to feeling sad because someone or something is not with us:

I miss you so much.

We really miss having a dog in the house.

We use the -ing form after miss:

I miss swimming; I used to swim a lot.

Not: I miss to swim

She missed working with Lilly and Meg.

We use missing as an adjective meaning ‘lost’:

[a public notice]

Missing person; John Rice, Aged 45, Tall with dark hair. Missing from his home since 31st August …

Warning:

Don’t confuse these words with miss.

Fail

We use fail, not miss, when someone or something doesn’t do what they should do:

The parcel failed to arrive.

Not: The parcel missed to arrive.

She thinks she’s failed her exam.

Not: She thinks she’s missed her exam.

Lose

We use lose, not miss, when we no longer have something because we don’t know where it is or because it has been taken away:

She doesn’t want to lose her job.

Not: She doesn’t want to miss her job.

We use miss, not lose, to refer to being too late for something or for not being somewhere that we need to be:

I missed the bus.

Not: I lost the bus.

Lack

We use lack, not miss, when we mean we don’t have (enough of) something that we need or want:

I know you lack some skilled people to build the boat and therefore I hope I can join your club to help you.

Not: I know you miss some skilled people

(“Miss” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
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