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“Wore” vs. “Worn” (Comparison)

“Wore” vs. “Worn” (Comparison)

We all know the basic tenses, which are past, present, and future. However, there are many more classifications for each tense.

For instance, past tense has four main types. These include the simple past tense, past continuous, past perfect, and past perfect continuous tense.

The terms “wore” and “worn” are different tenses of the noun “wear” or the verb “to wear”.

This can all be quite confusing, but don’t worry I’ve got you covered! In this article, I’ll be providing a detailed account of the differences between the terms, wore and worn. You’ll also come across the ways you can use each term later in the article.

So let’s get right to it!

What is the difference between wore and worn?

Both words are derived from the verb- to wear. However, the difference between wore and worn is that the word wore is a preterite tense or simple past tense. Whereas, the term worn is the past participle.

The verb wore is a single finite verb. On the other hand, the verb worn is used as a part of a verbal phrase consisting of an auxiliary verb. For instance, it’s used with the auxiliary verb “to have”.

In this case, the auxiliary verb is a non-finite verb and the past participles are the finite verb.

There’s also another use of the term worn. It’s used as an adjective. For instance, take a look at the sentence: Sophia’s worn shoes were still her favorite. In this case, the term worn means old, overused, or worn out.

Wore is basically used to describe that someone was “wearing” something in the past. However, the term worn can’t be used in the same way.

It’s a past participle verb that is part of the perfect tense and thus, it requires an auxiliary verb to help form a sentence. Therefore, both the terms also differ in the context they’re used in.

Take a look at this table summarizing the above points:

VerbTo wear
Past TenseWore
Past Participle TenseWorn
This form will help you remember them better!

What do you mean by worn?

The term “worn” isn’t only a past participle of the verb to wear. It’s also used as an adjective in certain ways. This means that it’s used to describe the way certain things look.

Generally, it’s commonly used for characterizing things that have been damaged because of continuous use or overuse. You may use this term to describe old things. For example, “You should buy a new shirt because these ones are worn out”.

This term can also mean that someone looks very tired and deflated. It’s a very common adjective that is used in almost everyday life. One may also use this to describe older people or people who have a very difficult and stressful life.

Here’s a list of sentences using the term worn as an adjective:

  • The reckless sport has worn down his knees.
  • Due to her workload, she’s completely worn out!
  • The machinery at the warehouse looks worn.

How do you use the word worn?

As you know, the term “worn” is the past participle. However, it can’t be used alone in a sentence or that sentence wouldn’t make sense.

It relies on an auxiliary verb whenever it’s used in a sentence. This is the correct way to use it.

Basically, it’s correct when an auxiliary word such as “have” is written with it. Without this word, worn will have a very little meeting and it would also be grammatically incorrect.

Using auxiliary verbs turns this term into one of the three potential perfect tenses. These are past perfect, present perfect, or future perfect.

These three tenses differ in the form of “have” they use but the term “worn” always remains the same. Here’s an example to help clarify:

  • Past perfect- Had worn
  • Present perfect- Have worn
  • Future perfect- I will have worn

The past perfect tense and future perfect tense aren’t used as commonly as the present perfect tense. However, all three of them are still grammatically correct.

a wise saying
A wise saying!

Differentiating between the perfect tenses

The difference between these tenses can be difficult to comprehend. Take a look at these examples of sentences to help you understand the difference between the three perfect tenses:

Past Perfect1. I had worn the same shoes every day until the strap came off.
2. You had worn the same shirt to school every day for the past week.
Present Perfect1. You have worn this outfit several times before.
2. The student has worn the same shorts every day, but no one notices.
Future Perfect1. You and I will have worn the same pair of shoes for every event until next week.
2. You would have worn nothing good if I didn’t bring you something last minute.
I hope this helps!

“Had worn” is the past perfect tense and it’s describing someone “wearing” something before or in the past as well. It’s used to indicate that “wearing” something in the past has a certain impact on what’s going on in the present.

“Have worn”, being the present perfect tense, is used to talk about wearing something in the past and then continuing to wear it in the present as well. It could also mean that they’ve recently stopped wearing it in the present.

“Will have worn” is the correct way to use the perfect future tense. “Would have worn” is also another option. The phrases indicate that someone might wear something in the future. However, this particular outcome depends on decisions that are made in the present.

Have worn or have wore?

Through the above examples, you know now that the phrase “have worn” is correct. Its tense is present perfect, which shows that someone continues to wear something that they were also wearing in the past.

The phrase “have wore”, on the other hand, is incorrect. You can’t use this phrase because you can’t place a simple past tense next to an auxiliary verb. This would create a double verb in the sentence which leads to the sentence becoming grammatically incorrect.

The correct form is “I have worn this shirt only twice before.” Whereas, the sentence “You have wore those shoes already” is completely incorrect. It doesn’t even sound right!

If you can’t tell the difference by looking at the sentences, then try reading them out. Once you do that, you’ll be able to notice a difference and also hear how incorrect “have wore” sounds.

Take a look at this video explaining past tense in detail:

This would help you understand better.

How do you use wore in a sentence?

When using the term “wore”, a pronoun is the only thing that needs to accompany it. This term is in a simple form and doesn’t require much thinking to get it correct.

You can use this term whenever you’re talking about the past. It’s used to mention that someone wore something before or previously.

Moreover, no matter what pronoun one uses, “wore” will always remain in exactly the same form. It’ll look the same regardless, unlike most present tense verbs. For instance: I wore, you wore, they wore, and it wore.

Here’s a list of sentences using the term “wore”:

  • You already wore that outfit to the last event.
  • I think she wore that already but it’s not a problem.
  • I wore these before and I love how comfortable they are.
  • They both wore matching outfits and it was a coincidence.
  • She wore exactly what she wanted to and looked very beautiful!

In short, this term is talking about someone who’s wearing something in the past tense. This means that the action has already taken place and there’s absolutely nothing more that can be done to change it.

Which is correct “wore out” or “worn out”?

It depends on the context you use the two phrases. “Wore out” is correct, the past tense of the verb “to wear out”. This means that something has failed or has been damaged because of excessive wear or overuse.

However, “worn out” is also correct as it’s the past participle of the same verb, “to wear out”. In some places in the south, the phrase, “I’m slap wore out” is commonly used. Which means “I am very tired”.

Although, the phrase “wore out” isn’t as commonly used. Many believe that it’s not grammatically correct to use this phrase unless a pronoun is placed in between the two words.

For instance, “All that delay in the work really wore me out today.” This is the correct way to use it or else it just won’t make any sense.

On the other hand, “worn out” is a more common and correct phrase. It’s used to describe how one is very tired after a long day. It can also mean that something has been excessively used and now it’s damaged.

While “worn out” is the more popular and common choice, it doesn’t mean that “wore out” is completely incorrect. However, using it without a pronoun might affect its meaning. In short, they’re both correct but just different.

Here are a few sentences as examples:

  • I was completely worn out by the end of the event.
  • The marathon was so long that it actually wore me out.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the main difference between wore and worn is in the tense. Wore is simple past tense, whereas, worn is the past participle. The difference also lies in the context they’re used in.

The term “wore” can be used on its own to describe that someone was wearing something in the past. However, the term “worn” needs to be accompanied by an auxiliary verb for the sentence to make sense. For instance, “to have” is used with the term worn.

Using an auxiliary verb converts the term “worn” into three perfect tenses. These are the past perfect, present perfect, and future perfect. The three perfect tenses use different classifications of “have”.

Additionally, the phrase “have worn” is correct. Whereas, “have wore” is grammatically incorrect. The former is commonly used to describe that something has been worn in the past.

I hope the examples in this article helped you understand the two terms better!

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