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Bear vs Bare - What's the difference?

It’s Monday, so we're back with another pair of commonly confused homophones! (homophones: words with different spellings but similar or identical pronunciation)

What’s the difference between Bear and Bare?

The words bear and bare may seem different enough to not get us confused in most instances. When we think of a bear as a noun, we think of a large furry animal, while bare we know means to undress or expose. However, things start to get complicated when you realise that bear also functions as a verb, while bare can be used as an adjective as well! Here are some sentences to help you understand how each word can be used:


  1. (Noun) a large, heavy mammal that walks on the soles of its feet, having thick fur and a very short tail. 

  2. (Verb) carry, i.e. “He walked into the room bearing a tray of sweets.”

  3. (Verb) support (the weight of), i.e. “The columns bear the weight of the roof.”

  4. (Verb) endure, i.e. “He could not bear the thought of her with someone else.”

  5. (Verb) give birth, i.e. “She bore* him four sons before she turned twenty-eight.”

  6. (Verb) turn (direction), i.e. “Bear right at the next intersection.”

*past tense of bear


  1. (Verb) uncover to expose to view, i.e. “She bared* her arm so that the Doctor could insert the IV drip.”

  2. (Adjective) unclothed/uncovered, i.e. “Her pale, bare skin.”

  3. (Adjective) plain/minimal/straightforward, i.e. “The room was cold and bare of furniture.”

*the past tense of bare

For our PSLE students (P5 & P6), you might use bare to describe a very sparely decorated room, or to describe how one might be underdressed! Secondary School (O’Levels/IP) English Language and JC General Paper students, being clear on the difference between the two words and familiar with the phrases they are commonly used in will ensure clarity in your argumentative essays (because we can’t bear the thought of seeing this mistake in your work anymore!).

Bear vs. Bare - How to use them correctly?

Test your understanding with the questions below! Fill in the blanks with bear or bare in the appropriate form.

a) The letters _______ his signature.

b) No one wants to _______ the responsibility of such difficult decisions.

c) The trees are _______ in winter.

d) Please _______ with me as I walk you through the installation instructions.

e) He only did the _______ minimum to pass the exam.

f) Who should _______ the burden of rising health care costs?

g) He was _______ from the waist up.

h) They outlined the _______ essentials of the story in their , presentation.

i) She had to _______ the brunt of her father’s anger and frustration.

j) The pain in my ankle was just too much to _______.


a) bear; b) bear; c) bare; d) bear; e) bare; f) bear; g) bare; h) bare; i) bear; j) bear

Was this helpful for you? What other words do you commonly get confused? Let us know in the comments below, and perhaps our next post can help bring you some clarity!


For information on our English Language, English Literature and General Paper classes for Primary 5 to JC 2, please get in touch with us at +65 81386011, or drop us an email at

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