As we have seen in our parts of our commonly confused word blog series, sometime words are confused because they sound alike (i.e., homophones) and sometimes they are confused simply because of carelessness. As the following examples shows, both reasons are to blame in the case of Where, Wear, Were, and We’re.
Where is an adverb that is used to refer to a location. Here is an example of how to use it correctly:
Example: Where are you going?
Note: As an adverb of location, where is similar to the word “there.” This goes a long where to explaining why the two words are spelled the same.
Though wear is a homophone of where (both rhyme with “air” and “hair”), wear is a verb meaning to put on or tire out. For example:
Example: I like to wear hats to fancy dinner parties.
Example: We try to wear out the energetic dog by planning with her a lot.
Note: As these examples prove, context is the key to knowing which meaning is being used.
Though were (which rhymes with “sir”) is also a verb, it is not an active verb like wear but instead the past tense of are.
Example: We were tired after the dinner party.
Note: Were is the past tense form of are; was is the past tense form of both am and is.
Here we have a perfect example of how a small change can make a huge difference. The apostrophe (‘) in we’re not only changes its pronunciation but also its meaning. This word, which rhymes with near and beer, is a contraction of we are and is used in the following way:
Example: After yesterday’s party we’re too tired to play with the dog today.
Note: A form of we are we’re is used only in the present tense.
As always be sure to check the commonly confused words blog post for more examples and additional practice. We’re sure that you can never wear out your welcome with us!