Ripped vs. Torn jeans

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Li'l Bull

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi, native speakers of English!

I've just read other threads on the difference between "to rip" and "to tear" when talking about clothes. It seems "rip" implies more force. However, my question is to do with the kind of jeans that you buy which have been pre-ripped/pre-torn, not that you rip/tear by accident - you know, as worn by fashionable people (well, I shouldn't go into what is or isn't fashionable: that is a different kettle of fish).

Would you say "She wore a pair of ripped jeans to work yesterday" or "... torn jeans"? I was thinking that maybe there's an agreed term, in spite of the fact that both ways of saying it would mean roughly the same.

Thank you in advance.
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I haven't ploughed through the other threads but, to me and speaking of cloth, "torn" indicates an accident and "ripped" an intention.

    If the clothes are pre-ripped/torn, I would take torn as the intention isn't to show the buyer as a mugging survivor but someone whose life-style is just a little bit dangerous. :rolleyes:
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I haven't ploughed through the other threads but, to me and speaking of cloth, "torn" indicates an accident and "ripped" an intention.
    I pretty much agree with this, but just looking at the clothes would give me no clue as to whether the damage was done intentionally or not. I would describe them as being "torn."

    It always amazes me that stores sell brand-new clothes that look like mine do when I throw them away....
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    If I knew for a fact that she'd been attacked by a tiger, I'd say the jeans were ripped. Otherwise, I'd describe them as torn. (Around here, it's been a very long time since I've seen deliberately destroyed jeans purveyed as fashionable.)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Well, ripped jeans would appear to be the more common description (check it out on the Internet.;) And I certainly wore ripped jeans when I was younger (not designer ripped ones, however....I couldn't have afforded them at the time!:D)

    Just for fun, have a look at this Wikihow article on how to rip your own jeans.:)
     

    waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I think either term is just fine, but would probably say something like "she wore a pair of stylishly/fashionably ripped/torn jeans" to make the point clear.
     
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