Sign up ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do some google I find that clothes work like objects like:

  • You should pack your clothes. → Yes
  • You should pack your clothing. → No

Can you tell me the main difference between clothing and clothes?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Clothes are those items you wear.

Clothing is pretty much the same, but it seems it can refer to a special type of clothes (the type it refers to depends on the context).

You can see a useful note on the OALD that I'll paste here for future reference:

Clothes or clothing?

Clothing is more formal than clothes and is used especially to mean ‘a particular type of clothes’. There is no singular form of clothes or clothing: a piece/an item/an article of clothing is used to talk about one thing that you wear such as a dress or shirt.

share|improve this answer
Interestingly as well, one would not say "an article of clothes." – Kit Z. Fox May 18 '11 at 11:27

There is really no difference. They are synonyms when used in that context.

The only real difference is that clothing may be used in a gerund phrase:

Clothing the poor was Martin's principal objective.

share|improve this answer

If there is a difference, it is very slight. Both would be considered acceptable, but some might argue that "clothing" generally denotes a general category, whereas "clothes" indicates a specific set of clothing.

share|improve this answer

protected by tchrist Mar 1 at 18:21

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.