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Tear vs. Tear (Homophone Examples and Grammar)

The word tear is used in quite an interesting way. Though tear and tear are identically spelled, there is a difference in the manner of pronunciation, their meanings, and their usage in sentences. Such a word is also known as a heteronym. Let’s look into the meanings of these words, their definitions, and their source, along with some examples of how they are used in sentences.

Tear (Teer)


Tears refer to the salty liquid that the eyes produce. At times, this word is used to depict crying or sorrow. Sometimes, this word is used like an intransitive verb (i.e. a verb which doesn’t take the object). Related words include tears, tearing, and teared.

Meaning or “tear”

1. As a noun:

It is a drop of saline and watery fluid that is secreted continually by the eye’s lacrimal glands. It helps moisten and lubricate the eye and eyelid surface and keep foreign particles away.

This watery fluid appears in or flows from the eyes due to emotion, specifically grief.

For e.g.: shedding tears.

It also refers to something that resembles or suggests a tear. For instance, a liquid drop or a tearlike mass of a solid substance with tearlike mass, with one end being spherical in shape and the other end with a tapering point.

For e.g., tears of dew.

2. As a verb:

To overflow or fill up with tears.

For e.g.: On hearing the news, she teared up. The wind caused my eyes to tear up.

Tear vs. tear
Tear vs. tear

Tear (Tare)


To tear, as a verb, means to rip things apart, to rupture something, or to rip something into pieces. As a verb, it also indicates rushing about in a very reckless manner. Words related to it are tore, tears, tearing, torn. 


1. As a Noun:

1a: Damage caused due to being torn: a hole made due to tearing

1b: the action of tearing anything

2a: Hurried or violent rush

2b: a spree

For e.g.., she got her salary and indulged herself with a tear

2. As a Verb

Tore; torn; tearing

transitive verb

1: to detach parts of; to pull apart or divide by force: Rupture/Rend

Intransitive verb

Understanding “tear” as an intransitive verb.

1: to detach on being hauled

For e.g., This shirt tears easily

2a: to act or move with force, haste or violence

For e.g., The man went tearing down the road.

2b: to penetrate or smash something aggressively

Examples of how ‘tear’ is used differently in sentences

  1. She had tears of joy in her eyes.
  2. The song touched me emotionally and filled my eyes with tears.
  3. She nearly tore the overcoat.
  4. I tore the paper into bits.
  5. The material is quite delicate and might tear.
  6. I had to repair the torn outfit.
  7. The tear in the curtains helped me have a peek at the van.
  8. She had a ligament tear.
  9. Canine teeth are for tearing apart flesh.
  10. Percy flung the door wide open and tore into the living room.
  11. In his anger, he tore her photograph.

To sum it up, tear and tear (tare) are two different words. They have the same spelling yet are pronounced differently. When used in sentences, they bring out different meanings and emotions of the sentence. You can either tear down the page or tear it up because somebody tore your page! 


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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