These are two completely different words, but sometimes students confuse them because of their similar spelling and pronunciation.
Wander is a physical activity.
It means to move around (usually walking) without a specific destination or purpose:
- On the first day of my trip, I spent a couple hours wandering around the city.
- We wandered through the park, looking at the flowers.
Wonder is a mental activity.
It means to feel curiosity, to want to know something.
- I wonder what happened to my friend from elementary school? We haven’t been in touch for years.
- Your wife is wondering what time you’ll be home – please give her a call.
Note: This is the verb form of “wonder.” There is also a noun form, which means “awe or admiration.”
Pronunciation of Wander and Wonder
The WAN of wander is like the WAN of “want.”
The WON of wonder is like the words “won” or “one.”