A phrase a week (5)

Hello and A Happy New Year to you all! In this week’s post I’d like to look at the difference between clothes, clothing, and cloth, which may be confusing for some English learners.

Clothes is the usual word for things we wear: She’s got some beautiful clothes (NOT cloths).

Clothing is a more formal word for clothes in general. And it’s uncountable, i.e. it doesn’t have a plural form: The workers here all have to wear protective clothing (NOT clothings).

Clothes is not used with numbers, and in conversation if you want to talk about one piece/item of clothing you would usually call it by its name: I want to buy a new coat (NOT a new cloth/clothing).

Clothes are made from various kinds of material, fabric or cloth, such as woven wool, silk, cotton or acrylic: I brought back a lovely piece of cloth from Thailand to make a dress out of.

A cloth (with plural cloths) is a piece of cloth, used for cleaning surfaces, dishes etc: Oh dear, I’ve spilt my coffee – have you got a cloth?

Right, that’s all from me this week. I’m going to tidy up the living room now. It’s quite a mess with all those clothes scattered about 🙂

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