Wander or Wonder?

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600+ Confusing Words Explained E-Book

Let’s learn when to use wander vs. wonder. Should we say “I was wandering” or “I was wondering”?

Wander and wonder are two completely different words, but sometimes English learners confuse them because of their similar spelling and pronunciation.

For more simple and clear lessons about the differences between confusing words in English, get my e-book, 600+ Confusing English Words Explained! These are words that English learners often ask me about, or often make mistakes with – and when you read this e-book, you can avoid those mistakes and use these words correctly.

Wander or Wonder? Espresso English

Wander: meaning & examples

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.
  • I was wandering through the forest, enjoying the fresh air.

We typically wander around or wander through an area.

If you have small children or pets, you want to keep watching them to make sure they don’t wander off (meaning move away from you, without a specific definition). Note that it’s always wander off, never “wonder off.”

Wonder: Meaning & examples

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.
  • I’m wondering whether the food at that restaurant is any good.

We typically use wonder + a question word or wonder + whether/if for situations that are “yes or no.”:

  • I wonder when the supermarket closes. (Example answer: 6PM)
  • I wonder if the supermarket is open right now. (Example answer: Yes)
  • I’m wondering how he got that job without any experience.
  • I’m wondering whether I should look for a new job.

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.”


I hope you feel more confident in how to use wander vs. wonder and wandering vs. wondering!

Clear up your doubts about confusing words… and use English more confidently!

Wander or Wonder? Espresso English

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