Cloths vs. Clothes: A Closer Look

Let’s have a look at cloths vs. clothes. These two words look very similar. In fact, many people mix them up and accidentally use the wrong word! Let’s review the differences between cloths and clothes so you can avoid making a mistake. 

Definition of Cloths

Cloths is the plural form of cloth, which refers to fabric (typically a small piece or strip). Cloths will always be a noun. Here’s how might use cloths in a sentence. 

  • My mom knows my favorite color is blue, so she used bright blue cloths for my quilt. 
  • Chad always keeps a pile of cloths in the garage to clean up messy spills. 
  • “Just grab a few of those old cloths to soak up the water,” she said. 
  • A clergy member is commonly called a member of “the cloth,” which refers to the distinctive way that the clergy dress.
  • Instead of buying new ones from the hardware store, Jessie tore up an old shirt to create paint cloths.

A picture of different coloured cloths and the caption "cloths"

Definition of Clothes

We all wear clothes each and every day (at the very least, while out in public). Clothes refers to articles of clothing, or garments. T-shirts, jeans, tank tops, and dresses are all examples of clothes. While clothes could be a noun, it could also be a verb, meaning “to clothe.” When used as a verb, clothe describes the act of covering, putting clothes on, or giving clothes to someone. Here’s how you might use clothes in a sentence: 

  • Selling your unused clothes can help get rid of unused items in your closet. 
  • “These clothes are really expensive; let’s go find another store.”
  • It’s time for another school year, which means we get to go shopping for new clothes!
  • My neighbor clothes her daughters in beautiful, frilly dresses every Sunday.
  • Before going on a walk, Sarah clothes herself with a winter jacket to protect against the negative temperatures.

A picture of clothes on a rack with the caption "clothes"

Examples From International Media:

Double-woven cloths have been used for clothing, but, though warm, they tend to be heavy and to drape poorly. – Encyclopedia Britannica

“There’s an old road that leads up into the scrub from the back of the information centre,” said Bob. “What they’ve done is put it on a truck and taken it up there and laid it on its side in the bush, and at the end that’s facing towards Bowen they’ve covered it up with tree branches and shade cloths so nobody can see it”. – The Guardian

Take the fashion editor Michelle Dalton Tyree and her sister, Jacqueline Dalton. They opened a Los Angeles boutique, Iconology, in 2006. The interior was custom-made chic — white walls, black trim and refurbished hot pink Louis XVI bergères. And then there were the clothes. – The New York Times



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By Caitlyn Walsh

Caitlin Walsh holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her experience and passion lies in proofreading, editing, and writing a variety of content, including long-form articles, blogs, eBooks, websites, resumes, creative short stories, and more.

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