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Bear or Bare?

By Jack Ashby, on 18 June 2013

Whilst working on some new displays recently I stuck up a sign saying “Please bear with us whilst we develop new displays”. Some people thought this was a deliberate clever pun as the display included some bears and they believed the correct spelling to be “bare”. It seems that this is a common problem as the question “Bear or Bare” gets over 75 million results on Google. This may help you remember when to use “bear” and when to use “bare”.

1) If you are talking about the large mammal, say “bear”.

2) The adjective meaning naked is “bare”.

3) The verb meaning to carry or hold is “bear”. For example:

Bear in Mind  That's a bear's brain, by the way. And the skeleton's a bear too

Bear in Mind
That’s a bear’s brain, by the way. And the skeleton’s a bear too

Bearing gifts

Bearing gifts

Grin and Bear It

Grin and Bear It

Bear Fruit

Bear Fruit

Bear Up

Bear Up

Bring to Bear

Bring to Bear

Bear a Resemblance

Bear a Resemblance

Bearer of Bad News

Bearer of Bad News

I Can't Bear Bears

I Can’t Bear Bears

Bear the Cold

Bear the Cold

Bear South

Bear South

Do Not Feed the Bears

Do Not Feed the Bears

Right to Bear Arms

Right to Bear Arms

On that last one, by the way, I recommend this Family Guy clip, which also involves some bear arms.

In conclusion – bears are a lot more useful than being naked.

Jack Ashby is the Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology

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