Should You Use “Fared” Or “Faired?”

Is it faired or fared? Here is another pair of pesky homophones that often leave writers scratching their heads. It’s fair to say that some fare better than others! Here is a quick rule of thumb:

  • Most of the time, “fared” is the correct choice.

Let’s have a deeper look.


What does “Fare” mean? 

“Fare” is a verb that means to “get through” or “get along.” It originated from the Old English verb “faran” (to travel). As a side note, there is a really cool website that lets you look up Old English words called (for the language nerds out there!). 

Here are some of its use:

  • I hope you fare well will all of your upcoming work! 
  • How will my pets fare without me for the weekend? 
  • Although the global pandemic took a toll on the world, many people fared well. 

As a noun, fare can means a toll, as in “bus fare.”

What does “Fair” mean?

Fair can be an adjective or a noun Two of the most commonplace use of the word “fair” in the English language would be

1. As an adjective – Just, correct, according to the rules (The judge’s decision was harsh but fair)

2. As a noun – A public event involving games, competitions, rides, and entertainment (The entire town anticipated the street fair at the end of the month)

However, other uses exist (also as adjectives):

  • Light-skinned (the red-headed girl had very fair skin and burnt easily)
  • Attractive (the fair maiden bid her knight farewell)

Using “fared” and “faired” 

When using fare and fair in the past tense, it is not uncommon to mix the two up. To be clear, fared is the past tense of the verb “to fare,” while faired is the past tense of the verb “to fair” (faired is rarely used by native speakers). 

As stated at the top of the article, when choosing between fared and faired, most of the time, fared is the correct choice. Generally speaking, “fared” means to manage or overcome, referring to how well something went. “Faired” means to become more attractive or lighter. 


Here are some examples of the correct use of “fared”

Graphic illustrating whether to use fared or faired.  General speaking, the correct term to use is fared, which means to manage or overcome.


  • People are always nervous about Samantha during her shows. No matter what happens, though, she will always fare pretty well! 
  • Don’t worry about me. I tend to fare well in bad situations.
  • Predicting how animals will fare when threatened is a hard task. 
  • Regardless of the challenges we faced along the way; we fared well. 
  • Due to the increased rainfall in Southern California, southern grape plants fared better than those in the north. 


In contrast, here are examples of proper use of “faired.” Again, this word is rarely used and refers to something becoming more beautiful or lighter.

  • After hours of rain, it seemed the weather was fairing off.
  • Like a good wine, she has faired over the years.
  • As nature took its course, the pond faired with every season.

Examples from the media

Let’s take a look at some examples from reputable media sources:


A 1975 production of George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House for the National Theatre fared better, but a couple of years later came a calamitous production of Julius Caesar for Peter Hall, also at the National. – The Guardian

In 2014, colleagues at KI raised questions about whether Macchiarini’s papers describing successful outcomes were accurate, as several patients fared poorly and two of the three treated at KI died. – Science Magazine

The clout of German unions, at individual companies and in the political system, is one reason the middle class there has fared decently in recent decades. – The New York Times


The hull, which was slightly asymmetrical as a result of its age, was faired and re-scanned. – The New York Times

After a second round, it faired well on everything but the cosmetics and the red wine. – The New York Times

Common expressions

We will leave you with a few common expressions using fare, fair and their past tense variations:

To fare well in a situation.

fair decision.

We went to a fair.

He paid the bus fare.

Farewell fair maiden.



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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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