Bare or Bear: Grammar Tips

Bare Vs. Bear

I started writing these little mini grammar lessons because a few of my friends said I was annoying. I can’t help it! I would a see a little sticky note on the refrigerator door and things were misspelled! I mean I do it too. Writing so fast that you may use the wrong spelling of a word – especially when there are two spellings but different meanings (homophones).

So here’s one that I see a lot by people who are writing a little too fast. To quickly summarize, bare means to be naked or exposed and bear is an animal or means to carry or endure. Of course it is the second definition of bear (to carry or endure) that some people get confused with the other bare. For clarity when your write your articles, read the complete definitions of bare and bear with examples below.



1 (of a person or part of the body) not clothed or covered : he was bare from the waist up | she padded in bare feet toward the door. without the appropriate, usual, or natural covering : a clump of bare aspen trees | bare floorboards. without the appropriate or usual contents : a bare cell with just a mattress. unconcealed; without disguise : an ordeal that would lay barea troubled family background.

2 without addition; basic and simple : he outlined the bare essentials of the story | a strange, bare production of Twelfth Night. [ attrib. ] only just sufficient : a bare majority. [ attrib. ] surprisingly small in number or amount : all you need to get started with this program is a bare 10K bytes of memory. verb [ trans. ] uncover (a part of the body or other thing) and expose it to view : he bared his chest to show his scar.


bare all take off all of one’s clothes and display oneself to others : Lysette bared all for Playboy in 1988. the bare bones the basic facts about something, without any detail : the bare bones of the plot. bare of without : the interior, bare of plaster, leaked a smell of old timbers. bare one’s soul reveal one’s innermost secrets and feelings to someone. bare one’s teeth show one’s teeth, typically when angry. with one’s bare hands without using tools or weapons.

1 (of a person) carry : he was bearing a tray of brimming glasses | the warriors bore lances tipped with iron. • (of a vehicle or boat) convey (passengers or cargo) : steamboats bear the traveler out of Kerrerra Sound. • have or display as a visible mark or feature : a small boat bearing a white flag | many of the papers bore his flamboyant signature. • be called by (a name or title) : he bore the surname Tiller. • ( bear oneself) [with adverbial ] carry or conduct oneself in a particular manner : she bore herself with dignity.
2 support : walls that cannot bear a stone vault. • take responsibility for : no one likes to bear the responsibility for such decisions | the expert’s fee shall be borne by the tenant. • be able to accept or stand up to : it is doubtful whether either of these distinctions would bear scrutiny.
3 endure (an ordeal or difficulty) : she bore the pain stoically. • [with modal and negative ] manage to tolerate (a situation or experience) : she could hardly bear his sarcasm | [with infinitive ] I cannot bear to see you hurt • ( cannot bear someone/something) strongly dislike : I can’t bear caviar.
4 give birth to (a child) : she bore six daughters | [with two objs. ] his wife had borne him a son. • (of a tree or plant) produce (fruit or flowers) : a squash that bears fruit shaped like cucumbers.
5 [ intrans. ] turn and proceed in a specified direction : bear left and follow the old road.
be borne in upon come to be realized by : the folly of her action was borne in on her with devastating precision.
bear arms 1 carry firearms. 2 wear or display a coat of arms.
bear the brunt of see brunt .
bear the burden of suffer the consequences of.
bear fruit figurative yield positive results : plans for power-sharing may be about to bear fruit.
bear someone a grudge nurture a feeling of resentment against someone.
bear a hand archaic help in a task or enterprise.
bear someone malice (or ill will) [with negative ] wish someone harm.
bear a resemblance (or similarity) to resemble.
bear a relation (or relationship) to [with negative ] be logically consistent with : the map didn’t seem to bear any relation to the roads.
bear the stamp of be clearly identifiable with : their tactics bear the stamp of Soviet military training. bear witness (or testimony) to testify to : little is left to bear witness to the past greatness of the city. bring pressure to bear on attempt to coerce : they brought pressure to bear on him to resign.
bring to bear 1 muster and use to effect: : she had reservations about how much influence she could bring to bear. 2 aim (a weapon) : bringing his rifle to bear on a distant target.
does not bear thinking about is too terrible to contemplate.
grin and bear it see grin .
have one’s cross to bear see cross .
*Source: Apple dictionary & Wikipedia

For you grammar geeks and English scholars, feel free to add your thoughts on this grammar blunder and any others you may have in the comment section below or over on Facebook.

Also for my budding English professors who tend to visit my grammar tip pages, there are several online teacher certification programs for professionals interested in becoming an English teacher. Perhaps one day soon, you will write a few tips for me on the site:)

Want more grammar tips like this – only better:) ?

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  1. Anonymous says

    Hey David,
    The phrase “bring to bear” is not considered jargon
    but an actual term used in the English language found
    in dictionaries, etc.

    bring to bear
    1. To exert; apply: bring pressure to bear on the student’s parents.
    2. To put (something) to good use: “All of one’s faculties are brought to bear in an effort to become fully incorporated into the landscape” (Barry Lopez).

  2. tish says

    Thanks for the info. Now I know it’s “bear witness”. Here’s my pet peeve. Why do people use the past tense, “closed”, on their business signs but use the present tense, “Open” on them. Shouldn’t it be “Opened”? And why do people say, “Couple days from now,” instead of “Couple of days from now”? Is it laziness?

  3. Jeremy says

    Did you start writing ‘these little articles’ because your friends said you were annoying, or did you freinds say that you were annoying because you write these articles?

    Did it annoy you that I spelt friends, ‘freinds’?

    Being annoying is fun.

  4. patricia says

    Love it! I’m the same way.. And yes, I too make mistakes when in a hurry..
    One thing though (spell check would never have caught it) in your sentence that starts with “For clarity when your write your articles…. ” I think it should be “For clarity when you write your articles…. “.
    Thanks for the useful info :)

  5. Hussain says

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks a lot, these articles are so helpful. I guess this is what I need to hold onto my English, especially in a country that does not speak it.
    I have one question here, I thought that I heard a phrase which sounds like bear a second, so is it correct ?

    Thanks for all,


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