Wear, Were, We're, and Where

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Wear, were, we're, or where?

To wear is a verb with two meanings: (1) to have clothing on, and (2) to deteriorate.
  • I am wearing a dress.
  • The machine is wearing a hole in my jeans.
There is also a noun associated with each meaning.
  • It is formal wear for the party.
  • Look at the wear on this screw.
Were is the past tense version of are.
  • They were happy, but now they are ecstatic.
We're is a short for we are.
  • We're going home now.
Where refers to a place.
  • I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later. (Mitch Hedberg)

Wear

The verb to wear means to be adorned with clothing, decoration, or protection. It also means to cause deterioration or damage by continuous use or friction. (The word wear can also be used as a noun.)
  • I wear a necklace because I want to know when I'm upside down. (Mitch Hedberg)
  • (Here, wear means to have clothing or decoration on.)
  • Our constancy was necessary to wear down the oppressive forces of the old democracy. (Federica Montseny)
  • (Here, wear means to cause deterioration. It is being used figuratively in this example.)
  • This heavy-duty wear is showing signs of wear.
  • (Here, the first wear means clothing and the second means deterioration. They are both nouns.)

Were

The word were is one the past tense forms of the verb to be. Look at this table:

PronounPersonVerb To Be in Past Tense
IFirst person singularwas
YouSecond person singularwere
He/She/ItThird person singularwas
WeFirst person pluralwere
YouSecond person pluralwere
TheyThird person plural were

Were is also the subjunctive form of was. For example:
  • If you were right, I'd have agreed with you. (Robin Williams)

We're

We're is a contraction of we are. For example:
  • Individually, we're one drop. Together, we're an ocean. (Ryunosuke Satoro)

Where

The adverb where is used to refer to a place. For example:
  • A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain. (Robert Frost)
  • Where there is love there is life. (Mahatma Gandhi)
 
 

What Part of Speech Is Where?

The word where refers to a place. Grammatically, it plays three key roles:

Where as an interrogative adverb:
  • Where are you going?
  • (Where can be used to ask a question about a place.)
Read more about interrogative adverbs.

Where as a relative adverb:
  • It is the building where we met Janice.
  • (Where can be used to head an adjective clause. Here, the adjective clause is shaded. It modifies building.)
Read more about relative adverbs.

Where as a subordinating conjunction:
  • Where two people remain, the winner is the person with the most money.
  • (Where can be used to head a dependent clause. Here, the dependent clause is shaded.)
Note: This is an unusual use of where. It translates best as in situations when. Often it can be replaced with when, particularly if at times when is a better fit.

Read more about subordinating conjunctions.


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