MG Mason

Wrong Word Wednesday #69


Every week I demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the word intended. Usually, this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence and sometimes it sounds amusing, other times it sounds embarrassing. Unfortunately, the mistake is so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Bare / Bear

A simple one, but more common than you’d think because we know that the noun “bear” is a furry creature, so our brains initially and automatically dismiss the verb, putting a strange image in our mind like the one on the right. So when Americans for examples talk about the Constitutional Right to …. arms, it makes you pause (is it bare or bear?)

Bare means naked or uncovered and as both are adjectives, replace bear/bare with “naked” if you are not sure. If it makes sense, you have the right word.

Bear is versatile and usually means in adjective, verb or noun form – to carry, to hold or possess. When you are not sure which word you need, replace “bear” with one of those words.

Are you fighting for your right to carry arms, or your right to naked arms?