Easily Confused Words: Bought vs. Brought

Bought and brought 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.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Bought (pronounced “bawt”) is the past tense of the verb buy. It means someone exchanged money for a good or service in the past.

Brought (pronounced “braw+t”) is the past tense of the verb bring. It means something or someone a person took along on an errand or journey in the past. For example, a woman brought her purse. A student brought his book to class. A man brought his dog to the park.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Birgit bought some shirts at the store. When she got them home, she discovered they didn’t fit. She brought them back to the store for a refund the next day. Navigating US vs. European sizing was proving frustrating. Maybe she’d just make her own stuff. 

This post relates to another post: Bought vs. Bout vs. About vs. Bot


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