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She lifted her head like a queen when those earings "were on". I really want to know the meaning of "were on" in this sentence.

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  • "earrings were on" is not a complete sentence. Max's answer might be right, but we don't really know without more context. For example, if the complete sentence were "Jane's earrings were on the far side of tasteful," it would mean something completely different.
    – The Photon
    Sep 30 '16 at 4:59
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on

  1. b : in or into a position of being attached to or covering a surface; especially : in or into the condition of being worn <put his new shoes on>

In other words, the earrings were on means she was wearing earrings. Similar examples are

  1. The man had a cap on. (The man was wearing a cap.)
  2. Do you have shoes on? (Are you wearing shoes?)
  3. She has pants on. (She is wearing pants.)

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