Bear vs. Bare | Definition, Difference & Examples

Bear and bare are pronounced the same but have different meanings.

  • Bear can be used as a verb meaning “endure” or “carry” and as a noun to refer to the animal. It’s also used in a range of expressions (e.g., “bear with me”).
  • Bare can be used as a verb meaning “uncover” or as an adjective meaning “exposed” or “without anything added.”
Examples: Bear in a sentence Examples: Bare in a sentence
The desk could hardly bear the weight of all the books. The apartment is bare, but it will feel like home once I decorate it.
The tree no longer bears fruit. Let me bare my soul to you in a song.
Rajesh froze when he saw a bear approaching his tent. Anna does the bare minimum at the office.

Bear as a verb

Bear can be used as a verb to mean “carry” or “support.”

Example: “Bear” to mean “carry” or “support”
The elevator can’t bear any more weight.

Bear can also be used as a verb to mean “endure.” The adjective “unbearable” (i.e., “insufferable”) relates to this meaning.

Example: “Bear” to mean “endure”
I can’t bear the thought of losing you.
Note
As an irregular verb, the past participle of bear is not formed by adding “-ed.” Instead, it has two past participles: born and borne.

In all cases except those referring to childbirth, borne is the correct past participle to use (“you have borne the cost” vs. “I wasn’t born yesterday”).

Bear as a noun

Bear can be used as a noun to refer to the animal.

Example: Bear as a noun
Don’t bring food into camp, or you might attract a bear.

Bears can run faster than humans.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Try for free

More uses of bear

Bear is also used (as a verb) in a range of expressions.

Expression Meaning
Bear with me while I try to find the book you’re looking for. Be patient with me
Please bear in mind that this is just one possibility. Take into account/remember
I hope Paula’s efforts finally bear fruit. Have positive results
The increasing demand bears witness to the fact that it is a good product. Is proof of/confirms
If you want to work full-time, you’ll have to bear the cost of childcare. Suffer the cost
Joe couldn’t bear the pain of losing his dog. Endure the pain
Andy disagreed with his teammates’ decision, but he decided to grin and bear it. Accept something you dislike
That child really bears a resemblance to Abdullah. Looks like
The sculpture bears the mark of true craftsmanship. Displays

Bare as a verb

Bare is a verb meaning “uncover.” It can be used literally or figuratively to describe the act of exposing something.

Example: Bare as a verb
You shouldn’t bare your teeth to a gorilla, as it’s a sign of aggression.

You should only bare your heart to people you trust.

Bare as an adjective

Bare can be used as an adjective meaning “exposed” or “unfurnished.”

Example: Bare as an adjective
Ken never wears shoes at home. He prefers having bare feet.

Tammy covered the bare walls of her room with posters.

More uses of bare

Bare is also used (as an adjective or verb) in a range of phrases.

Expression Meaning
Pack light! Only bring the bare necessities. Only what is necessary
If you do the bare minimum, your boss will not be impressed. As little as possible
I only know the bare bones of the story. Most basic form
Alicia wanted to bare all to Collin. Reveal everything
The documentary tried to lay bare the events of the Vietnam war. Reveal or uncover something that was previously unknown

Worksheet: Bare vs. Bear

You can test your understanding of the difference between “bare” and “bear” with the worksheet below. Fill in either “bare” or “bear” in each sentence.

  1. The table is covered in dishes; I don’t think it can _______ any more.
  2. Denzel claims he can lift up a car using his _______ hands.
  3. I’ve never encountered a _______ in the woods, and I hope I never do.
  4. Please _______ in mind that I have other ongoing projects.
  5. Bianca is quite shy. I’ve worked with her for years, and we have never had more than the _______ bones of a conversation.
  1. The table is covered in dishes; I don’t think it can bear any more.
    • “Bear” can be used as a verb meaning “carry” or “support.”
  1. Lara claims she can lift up a car using her bare hands.
    • “Bare” can be used as an adjective meaning “uncovered” or “with nothing extra.”
  1. I’ve never encountered a bear in the woods, and I hope I never do.
    • “Bear” can be used as a noun to refer to the animal.
  1. Please bear in mind that I have other ongoing projects.
    • The verb “bear” is used to complete the expression “bear in mind” meaning “take into account.”
  1. Bianca is quite shy. I’ve worked with her for years, and we have never had more than the bare bones of a conversation.
    • The adjective “bare” is used to complete the expression “bare bones” meaning “most basic form.”
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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

1 comment

Eoghan Ryan
Eoghan Ryan (Scribbr Team)
September 12, 2022 at 2:04 PM

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