Birth of Born and Borne

There is quite a bit of confusion among readers about the words, 'born' and 'borne', both past participle form of 'bear'. Let me clarify in this post.

To mean 'to give birth to a child', we associate the term, 'bear'. But this word has a lot of other meanings, such as 'tolerate', 'to carry something', 'to support something or somebody', 'produce something', etc. These examples will show you the use:

She thought she could bear her boyfriend's child.
His class couldn't bear his lousy lectures anymore.
My apple trees bear the best of apples in the entire state.

The word 'bear' has two past participle forms, associated with 'to give birth' meaning. They are 'born' and 'borne'. These two should be associated with two different meanings as below.

1. Use 'born' if you are talking about the child, in a passive sense.

My father was born in the middle of the last century.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889.

2. 'Borne is the actual active past participle form of 'bear', and should be associated with the mother.

Stella thought that she has borne Jack's children.
Michelle Obama has borne two children.

The other meanings of the word take the normal past tense form, 'bore' and past participle form 'born'. More of such small word awareness posts can be found under the topic, Usage and Vocabulary, on the sidebar.

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