Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wear, dress or put on?

Some students get confused with these three verbs. Dress and put on are quite similar, but the former is intransitive and the latter always takes an object.
Dress is an intransitive verb, that is, it doesn’t have an object:
She always dresses in dark colours.
Put on is always used with a direct object: You put clothes on: She put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
Note that you cannot use put on in the first example, nor dress in the second one.
*She always puts on in dark colours.
*She dressed a pair of...
On the other hand, wear is a transitive verb. You wear clothes, shoes, jewelry... on your body, but before that, you had to put those clothes, shoes or jewelry on you.

Please, note that you carry an umbrella, a stick or a bag.

Have a look at this presentation for further explanations.
Wear, put on and dress
View more presentations from Inma Dominguez.
Other verbs related to clothes are:
  • Take off is the opposite of put on.
  • Try on. You try clothes on to see if they look good on you.
  • Fit. If something fits you it’s just the right size for you.
  • Suit. If something suits you, it looks good on you or rather it makes you look nice.
Try this jacket on, I think blue suits you. Oh, no, take it off, it doesn’t fit you: it’s too small!

  • Don is the same as put on but just more formal.  Lorenz donned a kaffiyeh, an Arab headdress of folded cloth that's held on by a cord.

  • If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you make your feelings or opinions obvious to other people. You have to play it cool with a girl like her; you mustn’t wear your heart on your sleeve.
  • To be dressed to the nines means to wear very fashionable or expensive clothes. He was dressed to the nines in a black Dolce & Gabbana suit.
  • If someone is dressed to kill, he or she is wearing strikingly attractive clothing. She  was dressed to kill in a low top, short skirt and leather boots.
Now you can check what you have learnt by doing this test:


  1. thanks, it helps very much!! :)

  2. I want to learn more of what you teach

    1. Thank you very much, Clara! I'll be writing more posts soon.

  3. Thank u very much . It is very useful . I was confused before

    1. I'm so glad that this was useful to you! Cheers!


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