Grammar: Bear or Bare?

Lesson 17: Bear or Bare?


Bear or bare?

Confusing bear and bare can get you arrested in 47 states…

What are the differences between bear and bare? Each word has a few meanings…


Bear can refer to the furry mammal with claws.

  • Example: A bear went running through our campsite last night. 

Secondly, bear mean to produce, oftentimes in reference to trees. 

  • Example: The old pear tree continues to bear fruit. 

Finally, bear mean having to deal withusually something the person finds unpleasant.

  • Example: I can’t bear the smell of vinegar!

Common phrases which use “bear”

“Bear with me” or “bear with us” means to wait until something is sorted out.

  • Example: Bear with me while I try to figure out this technology issue.

“To bear arms” means to carry weapons.

  • Example: Some campus police officers do not bear arms. 

Please note that there are several other meanings/phrases that include bear (which are a little less common these days). To go in more depth, check out the definitions  listed here.


Bare usually means exposed or naked. Sometimes it’s combined with body parts. It can be used as an adjective, to describe something...

  • Example: If you run barefoot through the forest, you risk hurting yourself. 

Bare It can also be used as a verb, to expose something.

  • Example: The dog bared its teeth at the intruder.

Bare sometimes it means surprisingly little, plain, or empty.

  • Example: She always does the bare minimum when it comes to her schoolwork.

Helpful Tip: Bear is more common than bare, so when in doubt, you might want to use the first one!