• English Vocabulary: Wreck and Wrench

    Some English vocabulary words are confusing. This week one of my students told me he was having difficulty in telling the difference between wreck and wrench.

    Let’s look at this now.


    Wreck means to ruin or to cause destruction to something.

    For example:

    The car was wrecked after the crash.

    A person who is physically tired or worn out can also be said to be wrecked.

    For example:

    I was wrecked after the weekend in Paris and didn’t go into work last Monday.

    Wreck also refers to the accidental destruction of a ship at sea. This is called a shipwreck.

    The remains of a wrecked ship or car is called the wreckage.


    Wrench means to turn something in a quick and sharp manner.

    For example:

    David wrenched the door open and pulled the dog out from the burning house.

    It can be used in reference to knee, shoulder and ankle injuries.

    For example:

    I wrenched my knee during the football game.

    Wrenched is also used to express emotionally difficult situations.

    For example:

    It was heart-wrenching seeing the two of them separate.

    Let’s not forget that the word wrench also refers to hand tools that are used to carry out repairs and turn objects such as  nuts and bolts.

    Let’s see how well you got that.

    Here are two pictures. One corresponds to the word wreck and the other to the word wrench. Which is which?

    Fill in the blanks in the following sentences with either the word wrench or wreck.

    The car _____ blocked the motorway and we were delayed by two hours.

    Dad always carried a _______ in his car in case it would break down and he would need to repair it.

    I am ______ today and can’t wait to go home and sleep.

    I loved the book but the end of it was gut ______.

    Davey has a lot of toys but most of them are _______ because he is very rough with them.

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