08 Dec 2010
There are some words which get even the most competent writers in a twist. I always struggle to spell the town Grimsby (luckily it’s not a word I have to type often). And I have to really think about the homonyms bear and bare. Is it ‘bare that in mind’ or ‘bear that in mind’?
So this post is for me as much as it is for you.
Bare means lacking a natural, usual or appropriate covering i.e. butt naked. It also means exposed, unfinished, empty, lacking, having nothing left or added, or not being disguised or embellished in any way. And it means reveal or uncover.
So anything to do with nakedness, uncovering or revealing is bare:
- She was completely bare faced
- Bare as the day he was born
- With my bare hands
- He bared his teeth
- Riding barebacked
- Bare one’s soul
- The house was stripped back to its bare bones
- The top revealed a bare midriff
Whereas bear (as well as those big furry things) means to carry or transport, to show a feeling, to have a name, to give birth, to produce fruit or flowers, to support weight, to go in a certain direction, to show patience and to aim a gun.
- Can you bear with me a moment?
- At the next turning bear right
- To bear the cost
- He’ll bear the scars for years
- Will it bear the weight?
- She’ll bear the brunt of that
- Bear down
- I think it will bear fruit every year
- They’ve been ordered to bear arms
- I’ll bear that in mind
So if it’s not anything to do with nakedness, uncovering or revealing – it’s bear.
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