There is no end to confusion regarding this troublesome set and the English language has only itself to blame. Indeed, between wear, we’re, were, and where we have no less than three example of all the things that make English pronunciation so confusing. You are in luck, however – with us at your side we can help you make sense of this madness in no time!
Wear vs Where
Don’t let their distinct spellings mislead you – despite their differences both of these words rhyme with bear. That aside, however, these two have little in common. Wear, for example, is a verb related to clothing or use – “nurses wear uniforms,” for example – while where can be either an adverb used to start a question or a conjunction used to add geographic detail to a noun clause. For example, we might as “Where do you buy bread?” or say “A bakery is a place where you buy bread.” As one is related to clothing (wear) and the other to location (where) it should be pretty easy to tell them apart!
We’re vs Were
Unlike wear and where, this troublesome twosome does not sound at alike – we’re rhymes with here while were rhymes with, despite its appearance, fur – but their similar spellings do make them hard to tell apart on paper. This is especially true in the error-prone realm of texting. Just remember, though, that were is the past tense of are (“we were tried after the grammar lesson”) while we’re is not one word but two: we are (“we’re tired of studying grammar”).
Whine vs Wine
The extra h does not change the pronunciation of the five-letter whine – it is pronounced the exact same way as its four-letter soundalike – but it certainly changes the meaning! That is because while whine can be either a verb, meaning to complain, or the kind of sound produced by complainers, wine is only one thing: a delicious drink. Thus while you might whine about a lack of wine you should never confuse the two!
Be sure to visit our commonly confused words main page to find additional practice!