bear in mind

Something to bear in mind

I was reading a blog recently and it told me to ‘bare in mind’ something. The spelling here is actually incorrect and it should have been ‘bear in mind’. If only the difference between ‘bear’ and ‘bare’ was that one was a mammal and the other could be for every other use of the word… but this is the English language that we’re talking about here, and so things aren’t so simple. Hopefully with this blog, it will all become clear.

Let’s begin with the basics.

If you’re talking about the animal that Merida’s mother was turned into in Brave, use the ‘bear’ spelling. This furry creature is something that exists. It’s a thing, an object. Anything like this uses the ‘bear’ spelling. Hopefully you haven’t lost your linguistic bearings yet… *’Bear’ can also be an action (e.g. ‘I eat fruit**,’ ‘The plant bears fruit’) and can be applied to different meanings. You’d use the ‘bear’ spelling with phrases such as, ‘Bear in mind that if you wish to bear children, you must grin and bear it when they turn into moody teenagers. And now, on a completely unrelated note, look at my teddy bear!’

So would the phrase ‘to make bear’ be using the correct spelling? Afraid not. Here, ‘bear’ isn’t the action, but rather describes something. If the word describes something, use the ‘bare’ spelling. The description is of something that it is exposed and not covered up. ‘Bare’ can also refer to something that has nothing left over and doesn’t need to be added to, e.g. ‘the bare necessities.***’

So ‘bear’ can’t describe something but ‘bare’ can? Yep. Do you always use ‘bear’ if it’s an action? Not quite. ‘Bare’ can also be an action. Once more, it refers to exposing or uncovering something. Example: ‘He bared his secrets after a long time of hiding them;’ he is uncovering something that had previously been hidden.


– If it’s a thing, use ‘bear’

– If it’s describing a thing, use ‘bare’

– If it’s an action and part of a phrase, use ‘bear’

– If it’s an action and refers to something being uncovered, exposed or something similar, use ‘bare’

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!


*Pun intended. I’m not even ashamed.
**Lies. I eat chocolate.
***Admit it: who thought of ‘The Jungle Book’ and Mother nature’s recipes?

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