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Borne vs. born

Borne is the past tense and past participle of bear in all senses not related to birth. So it’s the appropriate word where bear means to carry—making it the correct spelling in the phrasal verb borne out (e.g., “his prediction was not borne out in reality”) and in phrasal adjectives such as food-bornemosquito-borne, and water-borne. It also works where bear means to produce or to bring about, which means it’s the correct spelling in the phrase borne fruit (e.g., “our plan has borne fruit”) even though the word comes perilously close to birth in this sense.

Born is also a past tense and past participle of bear, but it’s reserved mainly for use as the passive verb in contexts relating to birth. So it’s the correct spelling in constructions such as, “he was born yesterday.” It’s also used in phrasal adjectives describing where someone was born—e.g., Brazil-born, Chicago-born—and it’s sometimes used as a synonym of innate (e.g., “she is a born pianist”).


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Examples

All costs associated with this recall will be borne by Toyota and not our customers. [RTE]

It might equally be surmised that his 50-year silence was a ‘holy silence,’ born of the desire to live quietly and out of public view. [Spiked Online]

And it must also be borne in mind that Gadhafi clearly has substantial support as well as opposition. [Forbes]

Already the campaign has borne fruit. [Guardian]

Dr. Rodriguez is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. [Dentistry IQ]

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Comments

  1. Schmerson says:

    Assuming your Guardian example is not correct?

    “our plan has born fruit” – Suggested for ‘born’

    “Already the campaign has borne fruit.” [Guardian]

  2. This is the part of your article where “born” should be “borne”:

    “It also works where bear means to produce or to bring about, which means it’s the correct spelling in the phrase born fruit (e.g., “our plan has born fruit”) even though the word comes perilously close to birth in this sense.”

  3. RHickok1109 says:

    You might want to note that “borne” also appears in hyphenated form, e.g., “air-borne,” which is quite distinct from “Chicago-born.”

  4. “It might equally be surmised that his 50-year silence was a ‘holy silence,’ born of the desire to live quietly and out of public view.”
    Should be “borne of the desire”.

  5. Andrew Crispe says:

    What about ‘born of’ as apposed to ‘born to’? As in, “born of/to his first wife”. Are both correct?

  6. Steve Oelrich says:

    What about in this sentence:
    “It was a proposal born out of some people’s concern for liberty.” I would think it would be borne, unless the word “out” were deleted.

  7. Benjamin Morgan says:

    Probably worth noting: both “born” and “borne” are technically only the past participle, not the simple past tense. Of course, as the past participle, they’re both also used to make past, present, or future perfect tense, but in all cases, the simple past tense is “bore.”

  8. warbiscuitoldoriginal says:

    Am I to take it that I have to read the comments of any topic I visit the Grammarist to resolve in order to get the corrections in the article? Why aren’t the mistakes pointed out on these comments corrected in the post so the Grammarist is trustable? Seems odd. You should want continuous improvement like a wiki, I would think. Love this site. Please don’t end up like yahoo answers!

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