Wear vs Ware – Which Word Is Correct?

The words “wear” and “ware” are often used interchangeably by writers. The truth is…that is not grammatically correct. At first glance, these words seem to be spelled the same, but they have different meanings. Using the wrong word can be distracting and leave your audience confused. In this post, we’ll break down the difference between wear vs ware so that you can choose correctly.

What’s The Difference: Wear vs Ware

man contemplating the difference between the words wear and ware

How To Use Ware

Ware is a word that we use quite frequently, though we may not be aware of it. Ware refers to goods or materials. It is often used in the plural, as in “wares for sale.” We use this word in many different contexts. Just like in the difference between “to cute” and “too cute”, spelling can make a huge difference in the meaning of a sentence.

  • For instance, we might say that someone is “selling their wares” at a market. This means that they are selling goods or materials.

Some other common types of ware include:

  • Tableware
  • Glassware
  • Software

How To Use Wear

“Wear” is a diverse word that can be used in a variety of ways depending on the context of the conversation.It can even be used as different parts of speech in a sentence.

  1. Noun – “Wear” can be used to mean clothing. For example, “I put on my outdoor wear before going on a walk.” Or, “When a woman becomes pregnant, she shops for maternity wear.” A person’s particular fashion says a lot about their personality.
  2. Compound Words – “Wear” in noun form is normally made into a compound word. For example, “underwear, outerwear, sleepwear, beachwear, nightwear, and streetwear. You could also use wear as a compound verb. If you don’t know what is a compound verb, then read our guide!
  3. Verb – “Wear” can also be a verb meaning to put clothing on one’s body or carry on one’s person habitually. For example, “I wear gym shorts when I go out for a run.” However, it can also mean to degrade or undergo gradual deterioration.

Wear Off or Ware Off

The two phrases might look similar, but they have very different meanings. Take “due to” or do to” for example. “Wear off” means to gradually disappear or become less effective. Use our proofreading & editing checklist to avoid making spelling mistakes like this!

  • For example, you might say “My sleeping medication must be starting to wear off because I no longer feel tired.”

What about the past tense?

The past tense of the phrase “wear off” is “worn off”.

  • “I need some more medicine. The pills I took this morning have finally worn out.”

In this sentence, the phrase “worn off” is used to indicate that the person no longer feels the effects of the medicine.

FAQs – Ware vs Wear

Does Ware mean clothing?

There is a company called ‘Ware Clothing’. However, you cannot ware new clothes! Ware is a noun. It is grammatically correct to say that you “wear clothes”.

Is it wear down or ware down?

Wear down is the correct verb form. To wear means to gradually reduce the size, effectiveness, condition, or value of something. For example, you might say “my breaks have started to wear down over the last few years.”

Where VS Ware Wear pronunciation?

Where, wear, and wear are all homophones. In other words, they are all pronounced the exact same. Take grateful & greatful for example. Although they sound they same, all three words have different meanings and are used in different contexts.

Is Ware a real word?

Ware is a real English word that acts as a collective noun. Most commonly, ware refers to goods or articles offered for sale (i.e merchandise). For example, “I love going to garage sales to check out all the ware on display.” Ware is also used to form many compound words. For example, “I am going to the mall today to buy some kitchenware.” You cannot say ware to reference putting on clothing. You would instead say “I am wearing yellow clothing.”

What is another word of deteriorate?

The word “deteriorate” means to become worse, to decline in quality, or to fall into a state of disrepair. Some other words that have similar meanings are “to erode”, “to crumble”, and “to rot”. You might say, “wow this pipe needs to be replaced. It is clear it has started to deteriorate over the years.”

The Bottom Line

Even experienced writers can get confused by the words “wear” and “ware”. If you are trying to use a verb, then you are probably looking to use “wear”. If you are referring to merchandise, “ware” is your word. And if you can’t get your head around this spelling rule, try our Spell Checker.