Wear, Were, We're, and Where

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
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)


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.)


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


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)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are adverbs? What are contractions? What is the subjunctive case? What are interrogative adverbs? What are relative adverbs? What are subordinating conjunctions? List of easily confused words