In English, we often have a special word or term that is used to describe the first part of an action. One of my previous blogs was an example of this: the difference between “find out” and “know”. As I explained before, first we find something out, and then we know it.
This is the same case for “put on” and “wear”: first we put something on, and then we wear it. For example:
The shirt you’re wearing now is really wrinkled. You should put on another shirt.
A: What do you put on first when you’re getting dressed in the morning?
B: I put on my underwear first of course! After that, I put on my pants.
I love what you’re wearing. It’s such a nice outfit.
It’s time to leave. Go and put on your coat because it’s cold outside.
I need to wear a heavy coat today because it’s very cold.
So the term “put on” refers to the time that we put a piece of clothing on our bodies. This is very fast and would usually take no longer than a minute. After the piece of clothing is completely on our bodies, we then say that we are wearing it.
When we talk about removing that piece of clothing from our bodies, we use the term “take off”. For example:
It’s time for a bath. Go and take off your clothes, and I’ll fill the bathtub with water for you.
I often take off my shoes when I’m sitting at my desk at work.
I don’t want to take off my coat because it’s really cold in the office today.
Please note that we don’t say “put off” when talking about removing clothes; we always say “take off”. Also, please note that in English, we use “put on”, “wear” and “take off” for any piece of clothing: hats, shirts, pants, shoes, socks, etc. We also use these terms for other things we put on our bodies such as jewelry, glasses and make up.