Bear or Bare with Me?

by Craig Shrives

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The Quick Answer
Use "bear" with "bear with me."

"Bare" means exposed or naked (e.g., without clothes). For everything else, use "bear."

Bear with Me

We all know that a "bear" is a large mammal (e.g., polar bear, grizzly bear). To differentiate from that, some writers are tempted to use "bare" in expressions such as "bear with me," "bear witness," "bear fruit," "cannot bear it," and "bear the brunt."

In fact, "bear" is a highly versatile word. As a verb, it has many meanings, one of which is "to endure." For example:
  • Bear with me
  • Bear the pressure
"Bare," on the other hand, is not a versatile word. It means only exposed, naked, or empty. So, unless you mean one of those, you should almost certainly be using "bear." Read more about "bare" and "bear" (including "born" and "borne").

Common Terms with Bear

Here are five common expressions with "bear":
  • Bear with me
  • Bear witness
  • Bear fruit
  • Bear the brunt
  • Cannot bear it
Using "bare" with some of these expressions might not be be wrong, but it will change the meaning.
  • Bare witness
  • (This is wrong unless you mean a witness with no clothes on.)
  • Bare fruit
  • (This is wrong unless you mean a fruit with no dressing, peel, or skin.)

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See Also

More about bare and bear (including born and borne) List of easily confused words

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