Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ware, Wear, Were or Where?

Ware, wear, and where are soundalike words that are sometimes confused with one another in written form.  The word "where" is often misspelled as "were," which is another proper word (and another case in which spellcheck won't flag it).

Ware is a somewhat archaic form of "aware," as in "Be ware" or the derivative "beware."  These days, the word "ware" is seldom used in this fashion except in literature.  It can also refer to a product or commodity that is purchased.  ("He is selling his wares door-to-door.")

To "wear" means to "be clothed in" or to have or carry on the body, among other definitions.  You can wear a coat, or you can wear a smile on your face.

"Were" is the past tense of "are."  ("Were you at the party last night?")  ("They were at the beach yesterday.")

"Where" means "what place."  ("Where would you like to go today?")  ("Where did I put my keys?")

Incorrect: "Were did they go?"
Correct: "Where did they go?"
Incorrect: "I want to ware my new clothes today."
Correct: "I want to wear my new clothes today."

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