Commonly Confused Words: Clothes vs. Close

by | Jun 6, 2016 | Commonly Confused Words, GrammarSpot | 0 comments

“Because you’re standing close by, can you close the door to my clothes closet?” OK, so maybe this isn’t a line you’re going to find yourself uttering on a regular basis, but it does give you a sense of why clothes and close are sometimes confused or otherwise used in place of one another. When spoken quickly, the words sound quite similar, so if you’re among those individuals who sometimes struggle with clothes vs. close, read on for an overview of when it’s appropriate to use each term.

Clothes vs. Close at a Glance

Clothes refers to attire, or clothing in general.
* Close can mean to shut something, or it can be used to indicate proximity.

When To Use Clothes

Use the noun clothes when referencing what someone is wearing.


– She knew better than to wash her dark clothes with her whites.

– She made her kids change into play clothes as soon as they got home.

When To Use Close

Close has several possible meanings and is pronounced in different ways; use it as a verb when referring to shutting something (sounds like “klohz”). As an adjective or adverb, close demonstrates proximity (literally or figuratively) between objects, places or other entities (sounds like “klohs”). Given that close is spelled the same in all of the following examples, the only real way to tell the different forms apart is to take a close look (see what we did there?) at the surrounding context.


– Please close the window so we aren’t paying to heat the outside.

– Our favorite restaurant is set to close at the end of the month.

– The married couple was so close that they began to finish each other’s sentences.

– Denver is pretty close to the mountains; you can get there within an hour.

In Closing …

Whether you commonly confuse words like clothes vs. close in your writing, or you have another set of words you sometimes struggle with, we want to know about it. Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you’d like to see discussed next.

Julia Brabant
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