Which one is appropriate?

The woman with a hat

The woman wearing a hat

There are no links available for this question. I just wanted to make sure.

  • 2
    What is the context? Oct 5 '15 at 15:40
  • Or 'the woman in a hat'.
    – user207421
    Oct 5 '15 at 20:11
  • Or 'the woman with a hat on'.
    – user207421
    Oct 5 '15 at 22:41
  • You ask which is more appropriate. Appropriate for what? If you don't give us any context, we don't have anything to relate it to. There may be no links but there must be a reason for your question. Please give a complete sentence at the very least. Oct 5 '15 at 22:55

Both are grammatically correct and could be used, almost interchangeably.
The first option is less specific: the woman could be holding a hat in her hand or otherwise has the hat, but might not be wearing it. The second specifies that she is wearing it (on her head).

(Native speaker)

  • 2
    Yes. I'd just add that with the first sentence, she isn't necessarily holding it either. She might have left it at work or in the car. Maybe you're trying to say that she's the only woman in this group who owns a hat. Etc.
    – Jay
    Oct 5 '15 at 14:57
  • @Jay, strictly speaking true, but in most contexts would be assumed to be "The woman with a hat [she has with her right now]."
    – mattdm
    Oct 5 '15 at 18:13
  • @mattdm Yes, I agree, "in most contexts". That sort of thing depends on context. "Which woman are you talking about?" "The one over there by the door, with a hat." Surely wearing it or holding it. But, "Which customer are you talking about? The one who bought shoes or the one who bought a hat?" "The woman with the hat." No idea if she's wearing it right now. Don't want to beat it to death, it's not the important point here.
    – Jay
    Oct 5 '15 at 19:16
  • In the context of Curious George, the "man with the yellow hat" may or may not be in immediate possession of said hat. :)
    – mattdm
    Oct 5 '15 at 19:18

WBT's answer is excellent. As a native English speaker, I would add that if I were trying to distinguish a particular woman from other women in a group, even if she were actually wearing a hat, I would most frequently say "the woman with the hat". But both your phrases are fine, as mentioned.

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