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Cloth vs. Clothes

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

Sometimes, the materials used to make a product have similar names to the end product itself. This is the case with cloth and clothes. Clothes are made of cloth, but do either of these words have additional meanings? Continue reading to find out.

In this article, I will compare cloth vs. clothes. I will use each word in an example sentence, so that you can see it in its proper context.


The word cloth originated from Old English clāth, related to Dutch kleed and German Kleid, of unknown ultimate origin. Clothe originated from Old English (only recorded in the past participle geclāded), from clāth.

Cloth as noun:

The word cloth is used as a noun in English language where it means woven or felted fabric made from wool, cotton, or a similar fibre.

A broad piece of pleated cloth.

Cloth also means a piece of cloth for cleaning or covering something, e.g. a dishcloth or a tablecloth.

Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

The clergy or the clerical profession is also called cloth.

Has he given up all ideas of the cloth?

Clothes as noun:

Clothes are items worn to cover the body.

He stripped off his clothes.


The chamber will give way “Shop Small” cloth shopping bags to the first 100 customers at the market from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Sanford Street school building in Glens Falls. [Post Star]

An animal sanctuary in Australia has a found novel way of utilising cleaning clothsusing them as blankets for injured bats. [Daily Mail]

Usually, having the odor of alcoholic beverages clinging to your clothes means you’ve been over-imbibing or just plain clumsy with your cocktails. [CNET]

Sanitation staff Swamy, Saraiah, Komuraiah, Sunitha and Bhagya, who work in Srinagar Colony (South), were felicitated with a shawl, memento and a pair of clothes in recognition of their service. [The Hindu]

A security guard for the building at 208 S. LaSalle St. heard someone beating on the windows at 2:40 a.m., went to investigate and spotted three people in dark clothing inside the Paul Stuart store, according to a police report. [Chicago Tribune]

First introduced in the 1940s, resort, also called cruise or pre-spring, was a niche created to clothe jet-setters heading to warmer climes for the winter. [Los Angeles Times]

Cloth or clothes:

Clothes and cloth are both nouns, but only clothes is a verb. Clothes are garments worn to cover the body. Cloth is the fabric used to make garments and other items. As a verb, clothes is the third person present tense of the verb clothe. You can remember that clothes refers to garments since both clothes and garments are plural. If the word you are using is a verb, you should choose clothe in the first and second person, and clothes in the third person. Cloth is never a verb. As a noun, clothes refers to finished garments, while cloth refers to fabric, either by itself, unfinished, or as a component of a finished garment. You can remember that clothes refers to garments since most people wear more than one garment at a time in most societies, and clothes and garments are both plural.

If you still need help, you can always refer back to this article for a quick refresher.


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