Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; they rarely catch people out when speaking. Nevertheless, watch out when it comes to writing, as you don’t want spelling errors to sneak into your clean prose!
Now, bear with us a moment while we explain the difference between bear and bare in more detail.
The word bear has many meanings. Besides being a furry animal, it is a verb meaning to "endure or tolerate." It can also mean "supporting, giving birth to, or harvesting."
The words bear, and bare are a pair of tricky homophones you definitely don’t want to slip up on. Like all homophones, they sound the same but, in fact, have entirely different meanings. Both can be used as more than one part of speech. Bear can be both a noun and a verb, while bare can be both an adjective and a verb.
There’s a bear over there; run! (Noun.)
He can’t bear the silence of the countryside.
She didn’t bear a grudge against me after the fight.
Our apple tree didn’t bear fruit for the first three years.
After bearing two sons, Ana finally had a daughter.
I can't bear electronic music.
The verb bare means to reveal. As an adjective, it means naked, uncovered, or empty. Now can you see why the term "bare with me" might make one blush?
Another common misspelling of bear is with the expression "bear to arms." The verb to bear arms means to carry weapons, as in firearms, not the actual arms attached to your body. However, bare arms are what you expose to the sun when you wear short sleeves. So the right to bear arms (carry a weapon on your person) is quite different from the right to bare arms (wear a t-shirt.)
The dog bared his teeth when the mailman arrived at the gate. (Verb.)
He bared his soul to her on their last day together. (Verb.)
She dipped her bare toes into the freezing water. (Adjective.)
The wall of his room was bare after he removed the posters. (Adjective.)
Some trees are bare of leaves in the winter. (Adjective.)
He did the bare minimum to pass the class. (Adjective.)
So, what's the difference? Check out takeaways.
Bare, as a verb, means to reveal or to be straightforward. Bare as an adjective is to uncover or reveal; to bare with me means being patient.
Just keep practicing, and you'll be able to use these two tricky words perfectly!
When to use bear?
When to use bare?
How to remember bear vs. bare
Spell checkers don't always have you covered. Sometimes your word might be spelled correctly, but it could be the wrong word. In English, there are lots of confusing terms that look alike but are spelled differently, and many terms that mean the same thing but are easily misused.
Here are the most commonly confusing word pairings, with definitions and examples of their usage.