To put on clothes is to "dress." This is a simple yet important verb to learn. The meaning of "dress" can change a little, depending on the situation in which it’s used.
- Mary dressed and left the house for work. (She put on clothes.)
- Mary got dressed and left the house for work at 7:30 a.m. (Notice that the verb "get" is often used with "dressed" for putting on clothes.)
- Mary gets dressed up for work every day. (dress up = she wears formal, business attire.)
The verb "dress" is a regular verb. Following the "s" sound, the "ed" ending makes a "t" sound:
When one person assists another in putting on clothes, you can use "dress" as a verb:
- She helped her granddaughter get dressed.
- She dressed her granddaughter.
- I dressed my children when they were babies.
- Have you ever dressed a child?
The verb "dress" is also similar to the verb "wear."
- How was she dressed? (What was she wearing?)
- Is that how you dress for work? (Is that what you wear for work?)
- Nathan is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt today. (He’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt today.)
- He dresses very casually. (He wears casual clothes.)
By adding the preposition "up" after "dress," you describe the occasion or the reason for dressing:
- We got dressed up for the wedding. The men wore suits and the women wore dresses.
- Alan rarely dresses up for work. He usually just wears casual clothes.
- What are you all dressed up for?
- Tina dressed up as a witch for Halloween. (dress up as = put on a costume.)
You can use "dress" or "well-dressed" as an adjective to describe formal clothing:
- I need to buy a pair of dress shoes that will match this suit.
- That store sells men’s and women’s dress suits. (It’s not necessary to use "dress" in front of suit, but sometimes the word appears there as an adjective.)
- A well-dressed man came into the store to buy a gift for his niece. (well-dressed = nicely dressed.)
- He’s always very well dressed.
The word "dressy" can be used an adjective:
- Lucinda wears clothes that are a little too dressy for the office. (The clothes don’t fit the situation–they’re too nice.)
- Everyone looks so dressy today! What’s the occasion?
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Published on March 18, 2012.