‘Tear’ or ‘Tare’ (Differences, Uses, and Examples!)

Confused about when to use “tear” or “tare”?

You’re not alone!

Despite their similar spellings and sounds, these words carry distinct meanings that can trip up even experienced writers.

Whether you’re talking about a rip in fabric or the weight of an empty container, understanding the difference between “tear” and “tare” is crucial – here’s how you can learn and remember the correct usages:

Tear

Definition:

“Tear” is a verb meaning to rip or split something apart. It can also be a noun referring to a drop of liquid that comes from the eye, typically as a result of emotion or irritation.

Example Sentences:

  • She had to tear the paper into smaller pieces for the project.
  • A tear rolled down his cheek as he watched the sad movie.

Tare

Definition:

“Tare” is a noun used in weighing, referring to the weight of an empty container or vehicle, which is subtracted from the gross weight to determine the net weight.

Example Sentences:

  • The scale automatically subtracts the tare weight to give an accurate reading.
  • Before adding the ingredients, make sure to account for the tare of the bowl.

Understanding the Difference Between ‘Tear’ and ‘Tare’

Despite their clear definitions, “tear” and “tare” are often used incorrectly.

Here are examples of common misuses and corrections:

Incorrect:

He needed to tare the paper before recycling it.

Correction: He needed to tear the paper before recycling it.

Explanation: “Tear” is the correct word because it means to rip or split something apart.

Incorrect:

The truck’s tear weight must be considered to get the correct net weight.

Correction: The truck’s tare weight must be considered to get the correct net weight.

Explanation: “Tare” is the correct word here because it refers to the weight of an empty container or vehicle.

Incorrect:

She had a tare in her dress after the hike.

Correction: She had a tear in her dress after the hike.

Explanation: “Tear” is the correct word because it refers to a rip or split in the fabric.

Related Correct uses of ‘Break’ vs ‘Brake‘ and ‘Waist’ vs ‘Waste’ explained in these posts.

Mnemonic Tips for Remembering the Difference Between “Tear” and “Tare”

Using mnemonics can help you remember the distinct meanings and uses of “tear” and “tare.”

Tear

Mnemonic: Think “Rip”

Associate “tear” with the action of ripping or a drop from the eye. This connection helps you remember that “tear” can be a verb or a noun related to these concepts.

Example: “She will tear the fabric.”

Visual Mnemonic: Picture a piece of paper being ripped in half. Linking “tear” to this image reinforces its meaning as to rip or split.

Tare

Mnemonic: Think “Weight”

“Tare” relates to weight measurement. This association helps you remember that “tare” is used in contexts involving weighing empty containers.

Example: “The tare weight of the jar is 200 grams.”

Visual Mnemonic: Imagine a scale subtracting the weight of an empty container. Connecting “tare” with this image reinforces its correct usage in weight measurement.

Combined Mnemonic – Tear vs. Tare:

“Tear the paper, tare the container.”

This mnemonic helps you remember that “tear” refers to ripping something apart, while “tare” pertains to the weight of an empty container.

By using these mnemonics, you can easily distinguish between “tear” and “tare,” ensuring accurate and confident usage in your writing and speech.

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