Grammar Drier or Dryer: What Is the Difference? |
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Drier or Dryer: What Is the Difference?

When you’re working on enhancing your spelling in English, you might sometimes encounter two words that sound alike, with close spellings, pronunciations, and meanings. For example, some people might find themselves confused about whether to use drier or dryer when they are writing.

We will distinguish these two words and provide some examples you can follow. So let’s jump in!

The Meaning of Drier

To start with, drier and dryer might be pronounced the same way, but they represent different parts of speech.

Drier is a comparative adjective. It means that one thing has less moisture (is more dry) than another. For example, either of the following would be correct:

This piece of chicken is drier than that piece of chicken.

Arizona tends to be drier than Pennsylvania in the winter.

Both of these statements refer descriptively to physical moisture.

You could also use the word drier to describe a type of wit, tone, or personality. For instance:

Beth-Anne’s latest novel is drier than previous titles were.

Arnie has a drier sense of humor than I do.

In the first sentence, drier indicates the current book is less evocative than past ones were. In the second sentence, drier suggests that Arnie’s sense of humor is considered flat and emotionless, meaning it could be misinterpreted by some people as not being humor.

The Meaning of Dryer

The word dryer, spelled with a “y” instead of an “i,” is a noun that refers to a device or machine (an object) that removes moisture from something. There are different types of dryers (clothes dryers, hair dryers, etc.), but all of them make things less wet.


I left my socks in the dryer for more than an hour.

Sue’s hair dryer stopped working just before her date.

The home came with a new dryer the former owners had recently bought.

Each of these sentences refers to an object, making the noun dryer (with a “y”) the right choice.

Pop Quiz

Choose the correct word for each sentence.

1. The muffins turned out to be [drier / dryer] than I would prefer.

2. You can leave those wet towels in the [drier / dryer].

3. Didn’t the forecast call for [drier / dryer] weather?

4. Is there a washer and [drier / dryer] in your building?

5. Bart’s sense of humor was even [drier / dryer] than we had expected.


Pop Quiz Answers

1. The muffins turned out to be drier than I would prefer.

2. You can leave those wet towels in the dryer.

3. Didn’t the forecast call for drier weather?

4. Is there a washer and dryer in your building?

5. Bart’s sense of humor was even drier than we had expected.

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