Easily Confused Words: Bare vs. Bear

Bare and Bear are easily confused words. The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Bare is an adjective. It means void of content, or naked. For example, empty shelves at the grocery are “bare.”

Bear is a noun. It means large mammals that living in the forests of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia known for thick fur, short rounded ears, small eyes, large noses, and huge paws. Some bears are eat only plants, while others eat fish and other animals.

Autocorrect also tries to anticipate what word you want based on the first few letters. But sharing letters doesn’t mean related words.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Bailey visited the National Park hoping to see bears, deer, foxes, and wolves, but instead the forests were mysteriously bare. There was no trace of life.


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