Won’t vs Wont: What’s The Difference?

Won't vs wont can confuse English writers, but the two words have distinct meanings and use.  

In the case of won't vs wont, the only difference between the two words is that tiny little apostrophe. Yet that apostrophe makes a big difference in the meaning of these two English words.

As you try to learn the difference between won't and wont, a look at the history and meaning of these two words will help. Once you have the meanings down, you will get the usage right every time.

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Won't vs Wont – Exploring Two Similar Words

Won’t vs wont: what’s the difference?
Won't vs wont, the only difference between the two words is that tiny little apostrophe

The best way to keep commonly confused words separate in your mind is with a better understanding of what they mean. By breaking down the meanings of the words and exploring some example sentences, you will have a better handle on them.

Definition of Won't

Won't is not actually a word in and of itself. It is a contraction of will not. Just like don't and can't are contractions of do not and cannot, won't is a contraction of will not.

However, this can get confusing to American English writers and learners, because won't doesn't look like will not in the way that don't and can't look like do not and cannot. A closer look at the history of the word makes this clear.

Etymology of Won't

So why do we say won't instead of willn't? In Old English, the verb willan, which eventually became will, had two forms. Wil- was the present tense and wol- was the past tense. 

As the language evolved, eventually will became standard in Middle English. However, woll not was the popular form of the negative of this verb, and this eventually shortened to wonnot.

This naturally led to the contraction won't in the modern English language. It is through these morphs that we get to a point where will not contracts to won't.

Example Sentences with Won't

These example sentences will show you how to use won't properly. In each one, you could replace the word with will not and the sentence would retain its meaning.

  • We won't be going to the amusement park today because of the storms.
  • He won't deliver on Sundays.
  • The team lost, so they won't have to play in the championship round.

Definition of Wont

Won't vs wont
Wont can also have use as a verb meaning ” accustom” or “to have the habit of doing something”

Wont is not a common word for today's speaker, but it still has its own meaning separate from won't. Want can be an adjective that means “accustomed, used” or “inclined, apt.” Here are some example sentences:

  • He got up early as he is wont to do.
  • His face revealed his emotions, as facial expressions are wont to do.

Wont can also have use as a verb meaning ” accustom” or “to have the habit of doing something.” Here are some examples of this use:

  • That summer wonted me some bad habits that I had to un-learn when the semester started again. 

Finally, wont can be a noun meaning “habitual way of doing.” This is not as common of a use, but it is still proper grammar. Here are some example sentences:

  • He arose early, as was his wont.
  • The mom had a one-mile run every day, as was her wont.

Synonyms of Wont

Wont has a few synonyms found in the thesaurus, and these include:

  • Habit
  • Given
  • Custom
  • Accustomed
  • Used to
  • Inclined

Etymology of Wont

When considering wont vs. won't, understanding the history of the word can help. Wont has its roots in the Old English word gewunod, which is the past participle of gewunian. 

Eventually, the ge dropped off and the word was wunian. In Middle English, this word transformed into wont or woned.

A Final Word on Won't vs Wont

Won't and wont have two different meanings and histories, even though today's spellings are very similar. Won't is a contraction that means will not, and it comes from the Old English spelling of the word, which was wonnot. Wont can serve as a noun, adjective, or verb, depending on its use, and it means related to custom or habit.

FAQs About Won't Vs Wont

Should I use won't or wont?

Use won't if you're making a contraction of will not. Use want if you are talking about a habit or custom.

What is the difference between will not and won't?

There is no difference between the meanings of these two words. Won't is the contraction of will not, and both have the same usage in the sentence.

Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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