‘Bare’ or ‘bear’?

I am here to save you from the potential embarrassment of asking someone to ‘please bare with’ you. You don’t want that. Probably.

BearSo, in this context:

  • To bare is to uncover or reveal.
  • To bear is to accept, tolerate or endure.

Both words have alternative meanings. Bare may mean ‘basic and simple’ or ‘plain’, or it can mean ‘the least possible amount’. The word bear (past tense bore) has so many other uses (mostly related to the concept of carrying) that I have listed them below:

  • To carry or convey – ‘he was bearing a cup of tea’; ‘the boat bore the traveller downriver’
  • To carry or conduct oneself in a certain manner – ‘he bore himself with pride’
  • To display as a mark or feature – ‘it bears my signature’
  • (Similarly to the above) To have or continue to have something – ‘She bears a resemblance to my grandmother’; ‘I bear him nothing but goodwill’
  • To be called by (a name) – ‘I bear the name of my ancestors’
  • To support or carry the weight of – ‘the bridge could not bear the lorry’
  • To take responsibility for – ‘I bear no responsibility for your actions’
  • To be able to accept or stand up to – ‘your idea does not bear scrutiny’
  • To say something is true or happened in your experience – ‘I will bear witness to that’
  • To give birth to (a child) – ‘she bore two daughters’
  • To produce (of a tree, plant) – ‘my orange tree bears fruit’
  • To turn and proceed in a specified direction – ‘bear right at the end of the road’

I won’t patronise you by explaining bear as a noun.*

*… Apart from the usage in finance as it is a new one to me. A bear is a person who sells shares when they expect prices to fall and then buys them back (or hopes to buy them back) at the lower price.

Make of that what you will.


Using ‘refute’ and ‘rebut’

If you are writing an academic or formal piece, it is important to understand what ‘refute’ and ‘rebut’ actually mean.

They are often confused with or used instead of ‘deny’, ‘reject’ and ‘repudiate’*. These words mean to dispute something without providing an argument or proof.

‘Refute’ and ‘rebut’ mean to disprove by argument or evidence but in slightly different ways:

  • To refute is to prove something to be false or to disprove by argument.
  • To rebut is to try to prove that something is false or to present an argument against it.

These distinctions may not matter too much in everyday discourse, but it does matter when you want your audience to take you seriously.

*This is a decidedly ugly word, right?

CV spelling mistakes

I was sat, bleary-eyed, reading the i (a British newspaper) this morning. In it, there was a list of the top ten CV spelling mistakes. The original source for the feature can be found here. Almost one-third of CVs contain at least one spelling error.

The number one most frequently misspelt word is responsibility, followed by liaise and university. The list doesn’t give examples of the incorrect spellings that were found in order to form the top ten.

There are some other examples of misspellings on the website, and I have had a look at what Microsoft Word makes of them. They are all subject to a red squiggly line or to automatic correction (apart from travelling – the spellchecker, my dictionary and I disagree with Adzuna: the legitimate British spelling is with two ls). My advice, therefore, is to make sure you take note of what your spellchecker is trying to tell you.

However, I wouldn’t rely on your spellchecker completely. It can tell you if the word is spelled incorrectly, but it can’t tell you if it is the appropriate word. It isn’t going to pick up on the correct usage of their or there, your or you’re, and its or it’s. It might not recognise the correct spelling of an unusual word. And I’m not even going to mention the poor grammatical suggestions spellchecker makes…

Make sure you are thorough when you read what you have written. Read for sense as well as for the errors. If the work is of importance, get someone else to look at it for you. When it is your own writing, it is hard to read what is there instead of what you expect to be there.

Your CV is of great importance. It is a potential employer’s first introduction to you. Take that extra time and make the extra effort. It’ll be worth it.