Take the 2-minute tour ×
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.

Does it make sense to say the following?

Yesterday I wore an umbrella and a coat.

share|improve this question
21  
"Can I wear an umbrella?" Erm...ok, if you really want to. You might look pretty stupid though. –  Urbycoz Jun 13 '12 at 14:55
3  
14  
Sure you can: umbrellahat.net –  JeffSahol Jun 13 '12 at 15:06
4  
It's grammatical, doesn't literally make sense, but might be said by some people. –  Mitch Jun 13 '12 at 21:39
4  
I would certainly say "I wore an umbrella and coat" rather than "I wore a coat and carried an umbrella". Don't let anyone give you crap about it, English is a beautifully expressive language, and it would merely sound "British" of you to say something like this, to the ears of a Yank. How it sounds to the ears of a Brit I have no idea, altho likely "like the braying of a donkey" I'm sure ;-) –  jcolebrand Jun 13 '12 at 23:37
show 4 more comments

8 Answers 8

It doesn't make sense in English. You wear a coat and carry an umbrella.

share|improve this answer
8  
Not the same thing. "Alexander McQueen" is a metonym for Alexander McQueen-branded clothing. On the other hand, the original declaration is not an instance of metonymy; it's nonsense (except in the literal case of a wearable umbrella as pictured above). –  warrenm Jun 13 '12 at 20:34
6  
You can most certainly wear an umbrella, just as you would wear a sword. I've seen plenty of people do so. How absurd to think you can't wear an umbrella. –  jcolebrand Jun 13 '12 at 23:34
2  
@jcolebrand asked how it sounds to the ears of a Brit. Well, it doesn't make sense. You wear something attached to the body (a sword on a belt, a gun in a holster, a sandwich-board over the shoulders...); you carry something which will get lost if you let go of it. Perhaps American usage is different -- although another comment suggests that saying "wear an umbrella" sounds odd. The point I was making is that some languages do use the same word for both wear and carry -- French, for example, has porter. English has two distinct words for two distinct actions. –  Andrew Leach Jun 14 '12 at 6:21
1  
@AndrewLeach Yeah, that was rather my point. It sounds foreign, but not too foreign, like "this shouldn't make sense to me, but it must make sense to someone". Anyways, I think the phrase is poetic enough to be accurate. (Also: braying of a donkey :p) –  jcolebrand Jun 14 '12 at 14:49
add comment

You wear raincoat or coat, but you carry umbrella. Another example we don't wear gun, but rather carry it. Although if you hold the coat in your hands the verb is carry too.

share|improve this answer
6  
Though you do wear a holster, and I occasionally hear people say they are "wearing a gun" meaning that they are carrying a gun in a holster. And when googling this, I came across this page: girlsheartguns.com/?page_id=541 with the wonderful title, "What to Wear to a Shooting Range". I must admit that, as a man, I never really considered what constituted fasionable shooting-range wear. –  Jay Jun 13 '12 at 16:10
add comment

I generally use the verbs carry, bring, or take to refer to the situation when I take it with me in case of rain.

It looked like rain this morning so I brought my umbrella.

Then when it starts raining I use my umbrella.

It was really raining hard yesterday, so I had to use my umbrella.

share|improve this answer
1  
Unless there are two people sharing it, in which case you employ the umbrella. :^) –  J.R. Jun 14 '12 at 7:57
add comment

Yes. You can wear an umbrella. You can even give a seductive demonic grin when doing so.

Hot umbrella

I see no reason she could not also be wearing a coat, other than perhaps selling fewer umbrellas for others to wear.

Silly me, someone requested a picture of how you carry an umbrella. I carry mine like this (also with a coat to further illustrate the scenario),

How to carry an umbrella like a boss.

share|improve this answer
40  
oh come on people, this answer is amusing but not helpful in answering the original question, don't vote it to the top –  jhocking Jun 13 '12 at 17:44
22  
It is helpful in that it makes a distinction of how an umbrella would be worn. I do think that it should contain information about how people typically carry umbrellas (amusing images welcome). –  zzzzBov Jun 13 '12 at 20:00
6  
+1 for the humor, and yes, technically you can wear an umbrella. I had a prof in college that wore an umbrella on his head. He was bald & always said "It's not so much the wet as it is the noise" –  Brian Jun 14 '12 at 0:23
6  
@jhocking: This answer does, technically, answer the question. What it fails to point out is that "wear" is not the usual verb to describe using an umbrella. –  Dan Jun 14 '12 at 4:18
4  
@jhocking When you tell people to don't do something it's like telling them to do it, just look at the votes of this answer. –  Alfredo Osorio Jun 14 '12 at 18:11
show 2 more comments

I very much agree with the other answers. Though, a child (subclass(?)) of the umbrella is a the nubrella (and I suppose Umbrella Hat falls under that category as well). And that, I believe you very much can wear. So you can wear some umbrellas, but not all. And I suppose it also depends on the context.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In usual parlance, an umbrella is carried, not worn; but fashion circles speak of wearing an umbrella, when it dominates the get-up. For example, a 2011 manrepeller.com blog entry called "That Time I Wore an Umbrella Indoors" says a recent night "will forever be known (to me, at least) as the night I wore–not held–an umbrella in doors", and fotoblur.com image 91796 is titled "she wore a red umbrella". A 2011 kandeej.com blog entry titled "DIY: 3 way to 'wear' an umbrella" is about wearing part of an umbrella (its canopy) as an accessory.

share|improve this answer
4  
+1 Gets my vote for the research and references. –  Qube Jun 13 '12 at 18:44
add comment

An umbrella is usually carried. The difference between wearing something and carrying it is that carried items are attached to the body and are not being held in a hand or otherwise. For instance we wear clothing or jewelry because they stay on. If we were to have a ring in the palm of our hand we would be carrying it. So to wear an umbrella would indicate to have it attached to the body. The answers with the umbrella hat shows this. Also having it slung through a belt loop could be called wearing it. In use without a weird gadget it could not be worn

share|improve this answer
1  
Striking it through one's waist belt would most certainly count as wearing it. –  jcolebrand Jun 13 '12 at 23:35
    
@jcolebrand: So would placing it on your head like a hat, it does not take away the absurdity of the phrase. You could wear an umbrella on your belt, as you wear a sword in its scabbard, but only the inference of "wearing an umbrella" is a literal one, outside of that usage, it is nonsense. –  Wolf5370 Jun 14 '12 at 7:58
1  
BTW wearing a sword is not correct either really, it is worn at a location (worn on the hip/worn on the belt/etc) - it is simply a historical short hand that has become accepted over time. Even a hat is worn on the head. We do not need to say "I am wearing trousers on my legs", clothing is wearable - most other things are only wearable given a location that describes how it can be worn ("hat on my head" etc) –  Wolf5370 Jun 14 '12 at 7:58
add comment

Wear - to carry or have on the body or about the person as a covering, equipment, ornament, or the like.

So yes you can wear an umbrella

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt Jun 13 '12 at 18:10

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.