If you're wondering what the difference between 'ware' vs 'wear' is and what each word means, you've come to the right place.
In short, 'ware' is a noun that refers to manufactured products, whereas 'wear' is a verb that means to carry something on your person.
First off, let's get it out of the way: these two words are homophones. That means they sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Some other common homophones we've covered include:
'Weir' and 'where' are two other known homophones of 'ware' and 'wear.'
Because they sound exactly the same when said out loud, it can be confusing to differentiate the spelling between the two, which might lead you to misspell them.
But what does each word mean? Let's find out.
'Ware' is a noun that's rarely used in everyday language. It's more commonly used as a suffix tacked on to another noun, like 'tableware,' 'kitchenware,' or 'warehouse.' It's used to refer to manufactured goods that are for sale.
The word comes from Old English waru, meaning "article of merchandise."
'Wear' can also be a noun, but its most common use is as a verb. And as a verb, it has two meanings.
To wear something is to carry it on your person, such as an item of clothing or some jewelry. For example:
I'm going to wear my gold earrings tonight.
To wear something can also mean gradually causing damage to it by using it a lot.
My shoes are starting to wear; it's time for some new ones.
When it's a noun, 'wear' refers to those items you wear. And like 'ware,' you'll also find it used in closed compound nouns, such as 'outerwear' or 'knitwear.'
Now that we've clarified each word's meaning and spelling, would you like to know how to pronounce them? The good news is that they both sound the same, so you only have to learn the pronunciation once.
The words both rhyme with 'bear' and sound like this:
[ wair ]
And if you want to go one step further and learn the International Phonetics Alphabet spelling, it goes like this:
/ wɛər /
Let's look at some example sentences that use these two words to see how to use them in context. We'll start with 'ware.'
The wooden ware produced in those times was of extremely high quality.
We'll get onto the warehouse about the stock you're still waiting for.
Don't push the team too hard; you'll wear them out before the game even starts.
I bought some new clothes to wear for the party.
This outfit is a little tight on me, but I'm going to wear it anyway.
You should wear your hair up in a ponytail more often; it suits you.
So there you have it, the difference between 'ware' and 'wear.' Let's summarize what we've covered today:
- 'Ware' is a noun that refers to manufactured products for sale
- 'Wear' is a verb that describes the act of putting something on your body
- 'Wear' can also be a noun and refers to the things you put on your body
If you'd like to learn about more confusing words, check out our blog.