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Bear With Me or Bare With Me?

Navigating the use of bear with me and bare with me avoids embarrassing mistakes. One phrase is correct while the other has unintended meaning. This article will review the right phrase with examples, and a helpful tip to remember the difference while writing.

Separating bear with me and bare with me

The correct version requires choosing the right verb: bear or bare. The definitions are:

  • To bear: to tolerate or to endure
  • To bare: to expose or to reveal

Using these definitions, it’s easy to see that to bear is the correct verb. Therefore, bear with me is the correct phase. This term is comparable to saying tolerate this inconvenience, which aligns with the intended meaning.

The expression bare with me has a completely different meaning. This phrase is roughly equivalent to saying reveal something with me or get undressed with me. The sentence bare with me is a bit strange, and you can see why it is also an awkward mistake to make in business writing. 

Correct: Thanks for bearing with me. The final report will be uploaded in 15 minutes. 

Incorrect: Thanks for baring with me. The final report will be uploaded in 15 minutes. 

Correct: I find this repetitive pitch hard to bear

Incorrect: I find this repetitive pitch hard to bare.

Correct: Please bear with us while this floor is under construction. 

Incorrect: Please bare with us while this floor is under construction.

The above mistakes are awkward. However, there are times when to bare can be used correctly in a professional environment:

Correct: The investigation lays bare the truth of the scandalous procurement practices. 

Correct: The journalist was lucky to land such a bare-all interview. 

Why bear and bare are confused

The words bear and bare are homophones, meaning they have the same pronunciation with different spelling and definitions. It’s easy to accidentally pick the wrong word because they are so similar sounding. In addition, people are sometimes confused by the fact that bear is also a verb, not just a noun for the cute (but ferocious) animal. 

How to remember bear with me

When you’re writing, a trick to remember is to think of that fuzzy animal. If you encounter a bear, you will need to tolerate it (to avoid an attack, of course!). To tolerate is the right verb for meeting a bear, and it’s the correct synonym of the verb to bear. 

Persuasive business writing must be error-free. These small mistakes can distract or confuse a reader, which can distract from the core purpose of the text. Remembering the right version of these confusing homophones is important (peak, pique, peek). We have a list of the top business writing tools, including grammar and spellchecking that can help find these mistakes. Leveraging knowledge and tools will help you write more clearly and more accurately for better business communication. 

Mary Cullen

About the author

Mary Cullen

Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.

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