Some of the most common mistakes we see at Proofed are related to the misuse of homophones. These are words which sound the same when spoken but differ in their meaning, such as \u2018borne\u2019 and \u2018born\u2019. Avoiding this kind of error is paramount in both academic writing and business, as well as in any situation that demands clear communication.\n\n\u2018Borne\u2019 and \u2018born\u2019 are great examples of this, as being separated in spelling by one little \u2018e\u2019 means they\u2019re very easy to confuse. Despite this, they are also completely separate words, so it\u2019s important to know the difference.\n\nThere is, after all, a big distinction between being \u2018born with a silver spoon in one\u2019s mouth\u2019 (i.e. to come from a privileged background) and being \u2018borne with a silver spoon in one\u2019s mouth\u2019 (i.e. to be carried while chewing cutlery). As such, we\u2019ve prepared this guide to clarify how \u2018born\u2019 and \u2018borne\u2019 should be used.\nBorn to Be Wild\nThe more common of these words is \u2018born\u2019, which means \u2018existing as a result of birth\u2019:\nCharlotte was born on a hot day in January 1992.\nThis is also why we say that someone from another country is \u2018German-born\u2019 or \u2018Canada-born\u2019, etc. Likewise, it\u2019s common to hear that someone was \u2018born to do\u2019 something (e.g. the Steppenwolf song \u2018Born to be Wild\u2019).\n\nIn addition, \u2018born\u2019 can be used more figuratively to mean \u2018arising from\/of\u2019:\nHis success was born of good fortune, rather than wise investment.\n\nBorne Aloft\nThe word \u2018borne\u2019, meanwhile, is the past participle of \u2018bear\u2019, meaning \u2018to have carried\u2019. Thus when a sports team wins a championship, we might say:\nThe captain was carried around the stadium, borne aloft by her team mates.\nAlternatively, if a company is liable for a mistake, they might issue a press release saying that:\nAll costs for this recall will be borne by the company.\nThis is where we get adjectives like \u2018waterborne\u2019 that describe something which is carried by something else (e.g. \u2018waterborne bacteria\u2019) from.\n\nAnother past tense version of \u2018bear\u2019 is \u2018bore\u2019, such as in \u2018the apple tree bore delicious apples\u2019. The difference here is between the active and passive voice.\n\n \tIn the phrase \u2018the apple tree bore delicious apples\u2019, for instance, the subject of the sentence (\u2018the apple tree\u2019) is actively bearing applies, so \u2018bore\u2019 is used.\n \tIn the phrase \u2018the apples were borne by the apple tree\u2019, on the other hand, \u2018the apples\u2019 are not doing anything, so the passive \u2018borne\u2019 is used.\n\nIf you\u2019ve found this guide helpful, don\u2019t forget to check out the word choice section of our academic blog. And if you\u2019d like the proofreaders at Proofed to check your work, try our 500-word free sample service today.