‘Cloths' vs 'Clothes': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 19, 2023

What's the difference between 'cloth' vs 'clothes'? What do they mean, and when should you use each one? That's what we'll find out today.

In short, 'cloths' are pieces of fabric, and 'clothes' are garments you wear.

Key Differences Between 'Cloths' vs 'Clothes'

These two words are very similar - only a couple of letters separate them. Yet, they don't mean the same thing at all. In fact, you could even say that one is made out of the other.

Let's take a closer look at the meaning of each word.

'Cloth' Definition

'Cloth' is a piece of fabric that can have many different uses. You might use it to clean or dust the house. You could drape a cloth over the table to keep food from staining it. Or you could use it to make clothes.

Cloth can be made of several different materials, such as cotton, wool, or linen.

The word 'cloth' is a noun, and its plural form is 'cloths,' which resembles the word 'clothes' even more closely.

It can also take on the role of an adjective.

'Clothes' Definition

'Clothes' are the items we put on our bodies when we get dressed. Pants, T-shirt, scarf, dress… the list goes on. There is no singular form of this noun.

'Clothes' is also a verb; it's the third person singular for the present indefinite tense of "to clothe" (she/he/it clothes) and would be used to say that someone is putting clothes on someone else or providing them with clothes.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Cloth'

The International Phonetic Association spells the word 'cloth' like this phonetically:


And this is how it sounds when you say it:


Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Clothes'

As for the word' clothes,' phonetically, it is spelled as such:


And it sounds like this:


When to Use 'Cloth' vs 'Clothes'

Let's take a look at some example sentences that use 'cloth' vs 'clothes' so you can get a better idea of how to use them in context.

Example Sentences of 'Cloth'

She wore a white cloth dress to the dinner.

I'll just get a wet cloth to clean that up.

People from all different social classes were involved in the cloth trade during Tudor England.

Example Sentences of 'Clothes'

She delicately clothes her doll with the new dress she bought her.

I'm trying to decide which clothes to pack for my holiday.

Excuse me, where's your clothes section?

The Bottom Line for 'Cloth' vs 'Clothes'

That concludes our article about the difference between 'cloth' and 'clothes.' Hopefully, you now see that they are entirely different parts of speech, and this has helped you understand how and when to use them.

If you're in the mood for learning, head over to the Confusing Words section of our blog; we've got tons more like this one.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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