Imagine in an office meeting, you say, "We are wont to submit our reports every Friday." For a moment, there's silence. Some team members look confused while others start to chuckle. Why? You wanted to say that your team usually submits reports on Fridays but ended up saying something that sounded unusual to them. The confusion here stems from a common problem faced by many non-native English speakers - understanding the difference between 'wont' and 'won't'.

The distinction between 'wont' and 'won't' may seem minor at first glance, but mastering these nuances can greatly enhance your communication skills, especially in professional settings.

So, let's explore 'Wont Vs. Won't' from a non-native English speaker's perspective. Both words have different meanings and usages which are essential to grasp when learning English. So let’s dive deeper into understanding these terms better.

Understanding the Basics: What do 'Wont' and 'Won't' Mean?

The English language can be confusing, especially for non-native speakers, because of its words that sound alike but have different meanings, like 'wont' and 'won't'. Let's unravel these commonly confused terms to make your journey to English fluency smoother.

Wont: This word is used as a noun or an adjective and signifies a custom, habit, or routine. Here are a few examples in different contexts:

  • Rajesh is wont to start his day with yoga.

  • It was their wont to celebrate birthdays with a small family gathering.

Won't: This contraction stands for 'will not', used when denying the future action of something or someone. Check out these examples:

  • I won't be able to attend the meeting tomorrow.

  • She won't forget your generosity.

To illustrate the difference between the two words more clearly, let's look at a comparison table:




Habit or custom

Will not


She is wont to reading before bedtime.

He won't lend his books.




Why does Confusion Arise?

The English language, while widely spoken in India, often gets tinted with regional influences and pronunciation issues. This is particularly true when it comes to differentiating between 'wont' and 'won’t', two words that sound identical in casual conversations but have completely different meanings like principal and principle.

Most of us speak English with a distinctive Indian accent. Our pronunciation is influenced by our mother tongue, whether it’s Hindi, Bengali, Tamil or any other regional language. This can lead to slight mispronunciations and confusion between 'wont' and 'won’t'.

Take this scenario for instance: You are part of an office discussion where your colleague texts, "I am wont to arrive early for meetings". If you're unfamiliar with the word 'wont', you might misunderstand it as 'won't', twisting the meaning entirely. What your colleague means is that they usually arrive early for meetings, not that they won't arrive early.

Decoding Usage: When to Use Wont Vs Won't?

Understanding when to use 'wont' and 'won't' can be a game-changer in your journey towards English mastery. Here are three key rules to remember:

  1. Usage of 'Wont': The term 'wont' is an old-fashioned word meaning 'in the habit of'. For example, "Ravi, a chai lover, is wont to start his day with a steaming cup from the local tea stall."

  2. Usage of 'Won't': On the other hand, 'won't' is a contraction of 'will not'. It's used to express refusal, denial, or the future tense. For instance, "Despite his mother's insistence, Rahul won't eat bitter gourd curry for dinner."

  3. Identifying Contexts: Always consider the sentence context when choosing between 'wont' and 'won't'. If you're talking about habits or traditions, use 'wont'. If it's about refusal or future actions, go for 'won't'.

For more examples and tips, check out these vocabulary tips on Clapingo's YouTube Channel:

Practical Applications: 'Wont' and 'Won't' in Everyday Scenarios

Let's look at two common scenarios that will help you understand the correct usage of 'wont' and 'won't':

  1. During a conversation between friends, Rohit might say, "I won't be attending the party tomorrow as I have to prepare for my presentation." Here, 'won't' is used as a contraction for 'will not', indicating Rohit's decision of not going to the party.

  2. On the other hand, if Rohit's mother is discussing his habits with her friend, she could say, "Rohit is wont to stay up late studying for his exams." In this instance, 'wont' is used to describe a habit or custom that Rohit has - staying up late during exam times.

Mastering the Usage: Tips and Techniques

Perfecting the use of 'wont' and 'won't' requires practice and understanding. Here are some actionable tips:

  1. Understand the Context: 'Wont' implies a habit or customary behaviour, while 'won't' is a contraction of 'will not'. Spotting the context will help you choose correctly.

  2. Mind the Apostrophe: The presence of an apostrophe in 'won’t' is a clear indication that it’s a contraction, representing two words.

  3. Listen Closely: Native English speakers often pronounce 'won’t' with a distinct emphasis on ‘o’. This can help you distinguish it from ‘wont’.

  4. Practice Writing and Speaking: Regularly using these words in sentences helps reinforce their correct usage.

Still finding these nuances tricky? At Clapingo, we understand such linguistic challenges can be overbearing for non-native speakers. Our one-on-one personalised coaching sessions provide focused guidance on such specific issues, simplifying them through relatable examples and constant practice, all in your native language (like Tamil or Telugu)!

The Bottomline

It's essential to pay attention to subtle differences in English usage, such as distinguishing between 'wont' and 'won't'.

While 'Wont' is a less commonly used term indicating a habitual practice or tendency, 'Won't' is a contraction widely used for 'will not'. It's easy to mistake one for another but understanding their proper use can make a significant impact on your spoken English skills.

At Clapingo, we believe that every step forward in your learning process is a big leap toward achieving your dreams. We invite you to explore our diverse range of offerings designed specifically for non-native English speakers aspiring to communicate more effectively.


1. How is 'wont' used in a sentence?

"Wont" is an adjective that's not commonly used in everyday English these days, but it refers to a habit or something a person usually does. Here's an example: "Radha is wont to taking a stroll in the park every evening."

2. I often get confused between 'wont' and 'won't'. How can I remember which one to use?

It's simple. If you are talking about a habitual action or custom, use "wont". But if you want to express a strong intention not to do something in the future, use "won't" which is the contracted form of 'will not'.

3. Is it okay to use 'won't' in formal writing?

While it’s acceptable to use contractions like “won’t” in casual conversations or informal writing, for formal writing like academic papers or official letters, it's best to write the full form, i.e., "will not", for clarity and professionalism.