The other day as I was reading aloud to my sons out of a book about Clara Barton, I came across a sentence that i read, then re-read, then re-read again. It was about Clara Barton, the founder of the US Red Cross during the Civil War, becoming weary on the battle front. I was sure that the author had misused the word weary–and really needed wary. It was then and there that I decided that the concept of weary and wary warranted its own “Tricky Trick to Help It Stick”!

Weary is a word that means tired or overwhelmed from something, such as too much work, no rest, difficult circumstances, etc.

Wary is a word that means to be paranoid or suspicious.

Both words are adjectives, meaning they describe nouns (or sometimes pronouns, in the case of predicate adjectives: I am weary.).

So, what can we use for a Tricky Trick?

Well, I will propose one that has worked for me since my Clara Barton encounter–see if it helps you as well:

1. The day was dreary, so she grew weary–just remember that the spellings are the same–dreary and weary (dreary weather makes you tired or weary!).

2. The  salesman was scary, so the buyers were wary–just remember that the spellings are the same–scary and wary (a scary saleperson makes you wary or suspicious/paranoid).

Now, I hope you don’t get weary in your grammar studies–or wary when you write a sentence using weary/wary! 

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