If you’ve ever heard the phrase “bear in mind,” you might be confused; after all, there are two spellings of the word “bear/bare,” and multiple meanings associated with them. Neither seems to immediately make much sense with the phrase, so how do you know which one to use?
It’s better to ask and learn than to keep getting it wrong throughout your life, and since so many people struggle with this one, there’s no shame in being confused!
Which Is The Correct Spelling?
The phrase is correctly written “bear in mind,” though many, many people confuse it with “bare in mind.” The reason for the confusion isn’t very clear, except perhaps that many of us associate “bear” with the ursine mammal, and can’t understand why you would want a “bear” in your mind to represent remembering something.
People who checked out this question also asked “What is the difference between ‘bear’ and ‘bare’”? Evidently, these two words are easily and frequently mixed up, and their meanings get confused.
It’s not surprising that this question occurs, given the confusion caused by the phrase and the fact that the two words are pronounced in identical ways. If you’ve ever felt confused about this, don’t worry!
The word “bare” means something that is naked, minimal, or lacking in supplies. It doesn’t have any other meanings, so you can’t “bare with” somebody, or “bare” something in mind. It is only to be used when there is an absence of something.
The word “bear” is slightly more complicated and has several meanings. It is used to refer to the big, clawed ursine family we are all so familiar with, but it also refers to carrying something. It can refer to accepting and putting up with an unpleasant experience, or having a particular characteristic.
You can bear a cost, bear a responsibility, bear a child, and bear an emotion. A tree can bear fruit. You can bear yourself with poise, or bear left to change direction.
Most of these meanings have a connotation with the concept of carrying something, but they’re probably where the confusion comes in; there are so many potential uses for this word.
So Why Is It “Bear In Mind,” Not “Bare In Mind”?
If you said “bare in mind,” it could be roughly translated to “naked in mind.” That doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want an idea to be naked in your mind? What does it mean?
If you use the phrase “bear in mind,” you are literally asking somebody to carry something in their minds, to keep it in their thoughts, and – in other words – remember it. You aren’t asking them to keep an actual bear in their head, but simply to carry the idea with them and not forget about it.
If it helps you remember it, you can think about not undressing your thoughts, but carrying them with you as you would if you “bear” arms or “bear” a burden. Hopefully, that will make it easier to remember!