Wake vs Awake

Awake / Asleep

Awake and asleep are adjectives. Use them with the verb to be:

  • He’s awake. = He isn’t sleeping.
  • He’s asleep. = He is sleeping.

It’s common to use the expressions stay awake (to continue awake) and fall asleep (to begin sleeping):

  • On New Year’s Eve, my children stay awake until midnight.
  • I always fall asleep in history class – it’s so boring!

Wake Up

Wake up is a verb that means to go from asleep –> awake.

  • I wake up at 6:00 AM every day.
  • My brother usually wakes up at 10:00 AM on weekends.
  • Yesterday, I woke up late because my alarm didn’t go off.

Wake up can be used for yourself, or for another person:

  • Don’t talk so loudly! You’ll wake up the baby!
  • Your sister is taking a short nap. Can you wake her up in about 20 minutes?


“Woke” is the past simple of ‘wake’, but it’s also an adjective that has only just started to be used among young people and people with liberal politics.

It means that someone is aware or knowing about what is going on in the community and in society in general especially when relating to racism, homophobia, transphobia misogyny and other social injustices.

  • Person 1: Stop bringing racism into everything
    Person 2 : You’re clearly not woke
  • Bob spent his weekend watching Zeitgeist conspiracy videos on YouTube and now he’s woke.

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