• 2-minute read
  • 16th September 2020

Word Choice: Wine vs. Whine

‘Wine’ and ‘whine’ have very different meanings, but they only differ by one letter, so it’s easy to mix them up. In this post, we look at how to use ‘wine’ and ‘whine’ correctly so that you can avoid errors in your writing.

Wine (A Drink Made from Grapes)

‘Wine’ is a noun that typically refers to an alcoholic drink made by fermenting grape juice. However, ‘wine’ can be made from other fruit (e.g. orange wine) and even flowers (e.g. elderflower wine):

Do you prefer red or white wine?

In addition, ‘wine’ can refer to a deep red colour (i.e. the colour of red wine).

Two glasses of wine.
Delicious, delicious wine…
(Photo: PhotoMIX-Company)

The verb phrase ‘wine and dine’, meanwhile, means to treat someone to an expensive meal and drinks. For example:

Peter wined and dined me on our first date.

This phrase is the only time that ‘wine’ is commonly used as a verb, though.

Whine (A High-Pitched Sound)

‘Whine’ is typically a verb meaning ‘make an unpleasant, high-pitched sound’. This is often associated with cries of distress or complaints, but it can also apply to any similar sound. For instance:

The dog whined when it trapped its tail in the door.

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His constant whining was giving her a headache.

The engine whined as we pushed the car to its limits.

We can also use ‘whine’ as a noun, where it refers to a high-pitched noise, a cry of distress, or a complaint, such as in the following:

The constant whine of the machinery hurt my ears.

He let out a little whine when he trapped his fingers in the draw.

In all cases, though, ‘whine’ is related to a high-pitched sound.

Summary: Wine or Whine?

While these two words can sound similar, they have very different meanings:

  • Wine is a noun referring to an alcoholic drink made from grapes.
  • Whine can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, it means ‘make an unpleasant high-pitched noise’ or ‘complain’. And as a noun, a ‘whine’ is a high-pitched noise, a cry of distress, or a complaint.

As long as you remember that ‘wine’ always refers to a drink, it should be easy to avoid confusion. And if you’d like any extra help with your spelling, why not submit a document for professional proofreading today?

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