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Won’t vs. Wont: What’s the Difference?

One of the hardest concepts in the English language is likely contractions. They can be especially tricky if other words are spelled the same, yet have unrelated meanings. This is especially true in the case of won’t vs. wont. Without further ado, let’s look at their differences, and how you should use them in your writing.

  • Won’t is the contraction of will not.
  • Wont is a common misspelling for won’t, however, it can also refer to a behavior that is specific to a person.

Keeping track of when to use apostrophes in contractions is incredibly important. For instance, leaving the apostrophe out in this case will leave you with a work that has an entirely different meaning and grammar context than “will not.”

A graphic showing the difference between won't (Won’t is the contraction of will not) and wont (a misspelling).

What is the Meaning of Won’t?

As mentioned, won’t is the correct contraction form of will not. Contractions are essentially a way to shorten two words into an easily understandable term, such as can’t and don’t.

As a contracted form, won’t is somewhat informal, so it is probably best to stick with their full form when you are writing professionally or academically, such as in an essay. Likewise, if you are writing in a more informal context, such as a blog, it may be more appropriate to use contractions.

You may be wondering where the “o” comes from in wont. Interestingly, it has been tracked down to the 16th century old English form of the word, won’t.

Additionally, some other forms from other language origins may have contributed somewhat to the word. For instance, the Dutch willen and German wollen are cited to be some intermediate synonyms of won’t.

Additionally, although they are not true predecessors to won’t, other Middle English words such as woll, willn, and wil are all noted to have some connection to our modern-day word.

Take a look at these sentence examples using won’t:

  • I won’t want to jump off the diving board when I climb up that high.
  • She won’t see me unless I wave my hands high in the air.
  • Earlier I thought it may snow, but now I think it won’t.
  • After taking the quiz, I won’t want to see my feedback.

What is the Meaning of Wont?

In most writing cases wont will be a misspelling used when someone is trying to write won’t. In some rare cases, however, the informed individual may use wont as a noun to refer to behavior that is specific to someone. This can be something that is colloquially known among friends, or a simple habit.

  • I like to talk a lot, as is my wont.
  • His wont is that he loves to stop and pet every dog he sees on the street.
  • His wont is drinking a cup of coffee with a box of cookies every morning.

Popular Examples Using Won’t and Wont

To help illustrate these words being used, look at the following examples that use them both in popular sources:

“The singing seems hypnotic, and the round, as rounds are wont to do, does not yet seem ready to end.” – the Cambridge English Corpus.

“Mechanical dogs won’t shed, ruin the rug or keep becoming pregnant.” – the New York Times.

“As the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner put it, the animal, “in a testosterone-filled moment”, attacked the billowing wires, as rutting moose are wont to do.” – the Economist.

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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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