Could you please tell me which sentence is more idiomatic or they're both fine? From the point of view of formal logic it seems that "put on" sounds better here.

Mothers always make their children put on warm clothing in winter.

Mothers always make their children wear warm clothing in winter.

2 Answers 2


Both are fine.

"Put on" describes an action, but "wear" describes a state. So if mothers tell their children to dress warmly and not remove those clothes then you say "wear". On the other hand if the children are able to take off the warm clothes as soon as they are out of sight of their mothers, then "put on".

In practice, either could be used in most situations.

Mum always made me put on a bobble hat when I went to school, but she couldn't make me wear it. As soon as I had turned the corner at the end of the street it was in my bag.


Both sound natural to me. The difference is that putting on is the specific act of dressing: of donning the clothes. This is an action performed once. Wearing is the act of having the clothes on. This morning I put on a shirt. Now, I'm wearing a shirt.

So the meanings are slightly different, but both are idiomatic. Which one do you prefer - do you want to focus on the act of dressing or on the state of being dressed?

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