Bear with Me or Bare with Me_ Proper Grammar Explained by an Editor image

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. They can be a tricky part of English grammar, since it’s easy to confuse one homophone with another.

Here are some examples of common homophones:

  • to, too, two
  • meat, meet, mete
  • right, rite, wright, write

Here’s another homophone: Is it “bare with me” or “bear with me”?

“Bear with Me” Is Correct

So how can you tell the difference? Which one should you use?

The correct version is “bear with me.”

  • Bear with me while I look for your order.
  • My husband knows I have to pet every dog I see—and he always bears with me.
  • The news upset her greatly; she asked her guests to bear with her while she regained her composure.

Bare Means Uncover

The meaning of the verb “bare” is based on its definition as an adjective. According to Merriam-Webster.com, TCK’s standard dictionary, the adjective “bare” means “lacking a natural, usual, or appropriate covering.”

  • The room was bare, devoid of any furniture.
  • Her bare feet made no sound on the stone floor.
  • The trail runner fought a mountain lion with his bare hands.

The verb “bare,” therefore, means to uncover something or make it bare.

  • The snarling tiger bared its teeth.
  • He removed his hat, baring his head despite the rain.
  • The investigation bared the family’s secrets.

So, don’t use “bare with me” unless you’re looking for a friend to join you in the shower. Or a round of strip poker.

Bear Means Tolerate

The verb “bear” has a variety of meanings. The definition that applies in this context means to support the weight of (something); synonyms include “abide,” “endure,” and “tolerate.” If you read further into the Merriam-Webster definition of “bear,” you’ll find the phrase “bear with,” which means to be “indulgent, patient, or forbearing.”

  • He couldn’t bear to see her cry.
  • She bore the bad news heroically.
  • I can bear the discomfort of small airline seats when I know I’m going on vacation.

To make this difference easier to remember, Maeve Maddox at Daily Writing Tips coined the phrase “Beware of bare.

 

Here are some other grammar articles that may interest you:

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Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.

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