We need to understand a little bit about the two forms available to us when looking at the past tense of “wear.” It’s a commonly misused word because it follows irregular past tense verb forms. This article will explain how you can use it correctly.
Wore or Worn: Which Is Correct?
“Wore” is the simple past tense of the verb “to wear.” We use it when somebody was “wearing” something in the past. “Worn” is the past participle of the same verb, which is part of the perfect tense, but it requires an auxiliary verb before we can create this.
Some examples of each form might help you to understand them better:
- I wore the same dress three days in a row, and nobody noticed.
- I have worn this outfit before, but I think I can get away with it.
And you might benefit from remembering the forms like this:
When Is “Wore” Correct?
A pronoun is the only thing we need to use when writing with “wore.” It’s a simple form, which doesn’t require much brainpower to get correct.
“Wore” is correct whenever talking about the past. We use it to mention that someone “wore” something previously.
No matter what pronoun we use, “wore” will always keep the same form. Unlike most present tense verbs, “wore” will look the same regardless, as you can see in the following ways:
- I wore
- You wore
- They wore
- It wore
Example Sentences Using “Wore”
- You wore that outfit yesterday. Don’t wear it again.
- I think he wore that already, but you can always ask him.
- I wore that before, and I must say that I loved the comfort!
- You wore these out last night!
- We wore matching outfits, but we didn’t plan for that to happen!
- They wore the same thing. Did you notice?
- He wore what he wanted to, and you have to give him credit for that!
“Wore” works to talk about someone “wearing” something in the past tense. The action has already happened, and there is nothing more that can be done to change that.
When Is “Worn” Correct?
“Worn” is the past participle. We need to rely on auxiliary verbs whenever we want to use this correctly in sentences.
“Worn” is correct when an auxiliary verb like “have” accompanies it. Without “have,” “worn” will have very little meaning (and will be grammatically correct). Using auxiliary verbs turns “worn” into one of three potential perfect tenses.
The three perfect tenses vary in the form of “have,” but “worn” will always stay the same.
- Past perfect: Had worn
- Present perfect: Have worn
- Future perfect: Will have worn
The past perfect and future perfect aren’t nearly as common as the present perfect. However, you can see that they both do something to the verb form of “have,” which is what we use to remind us of whichever tense we’re writing with.
Example sentences using “Worn”
Breaking this part into sections will be the best way for you to understand the differences between the perfect tenses. So, make sure you pay attention to the tenses you have the most difficulty with!
- I had worn the same outfit every day for three years before he came along and told me off.
- You had worn the same boxers for three days before I finally threw them in the laundry!
“Had worn” is the past perfect tense. It works by talking about someone “wearing” something before something else happened or that “wearing” something in the past has some kind of impact on what’s going on in the present.
- You have worn that dress before, and I can tell how much you still love wearing it.
- She has worn the same thing already, but you can’t tell her that I noticed that!
“Have worn” gives us the present perfect tense. We use it to talk about “wearing” something in the past and continuing to do so or just finishing doing so in the present.
- We will have worn matching outfits for every public event by the end of the month.
- You would have worn nothing but old, cheap hand-me-downs if it wasn’t for me.
“Will have worn” is how we use the future perfect. “Would have worn” is another option. It means that someone might “wear” something in the future, but that outcome is based on the decisions made at present.
How “Worn” can also be used as an adjective
“Worn” isn’t just a past participle of the verb “to wear.” We can also use it as an adjective in certain ways.
“Worn” means that something is damaged (usually because of overuse or age). It can also mean that someone looks very tired and deflated in some way.
It’s common to use it to describe things that are old and overused. We might also use it to describe older people or people who have a very difficult or stressful life.
Example sentences using “Worn” as an adjective
- The machinery in the factory looked worn!
- His knees have been worn down over time because of how reckless he is in his sport.
- She looked completely worn and ill, which is unsurprising given her circumstances.
“Have Wore” Vs. “Have Worn”
We’ve proved that “have worn” is correct. It’s the present perfect tense, which shows that someone continues to wear something they started wearing in the past.
However, “have wore” is incorrect. We cannot use “have wore” because the simple past tense cannot be placed alongside an auxiliary verb like “have.” This creates a double verb in the sentence, which is never correct unless using participle forms.
- Correct: I have worn this dress once before. Thank you for noticing.
- Incorrect: You have wore that underwear already!
“Wore” is correct in most cases when talking about “wearing” something in the past. It’s the simple past tense, with no extra rules required. You need to remember the auxiliary verbs like “have” when using the past participle “worn,” though, because it doesn’t make sense on its own.
You may also like: Swum vs. Swam: Which Is Correct? (Helpful Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.