It Bears Repeating: Is It Bears or Bares?
It bears repeating that the English language is full of odd sayings. Never fear, though—we’re here to break them down.
Whether I’m proofreading short stories, full manuscripts, or a billboard on the highway, I’ve always been a grammar nerd. (I edit the billboards on the highway in my head. I’m fun on road trips.)
As a professional editor, I think finding and fixing grammar mistakes is as enjoyable as gathering hidden gems.
Today I’d like to explain a saying that most people have heard before, but don’t always know how to use correctly.
No Bears Here
What do you think of when you hear the word “bear”? I’m guessing you imagine something like this:
There are no toothy mammals in “it bears repeating,” though. The word “bear” has several meanings.
Here, it’s a verb: “to bear” means “to be worthy of.” “It bears repeating,” then, means “it’s worth repeating.”
Remember, it’s “bear,” not “bare.” “To bare” means “to uncover,” which has very different implications!
It Bears Repeating
What does this look like out in the wild? Let’s use it in a sentence:
“Wow, Sam did such a great job on his science project!” said Sam’s aunt.
“He did! But it bears repeating that he didn’t do it alone—Marianne and Jack were a huge help,” said his mom.
Sam’s aunt is excited about how well he did on his science project. His mom is, too. But she uses “it bears repeating” to remind his aunt of something she already knows: Sam had great people helping him.
If something bears repeating, it’s worth saying again.
It’s Worth Remembering
You probably don’t hear “it bears repeating” every day. It’s a bit of a formal turn of phrase, and “it’s worth repeating” works just as well.
You could even go more casual with “like I said,” or borderline rude with “I already told you.”
Still, it’s worth remembering the meaning (and spelling!) of the phrase. Perhaps this image of bears will help it stick in your mind:
Do you use “it bears repeating”? What other odd turns of phrase trip you up? Let us know in the comments.
Take fifteen minutes to write a scene using the phrase “it bears repeating” as many times as possible. Bonus points if your characters are bears!
When you’re done, share your writing in the comments below. It bears repeating that the best way to grow as a writer is through giving and receiving feedback, so be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!
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Alice Sudlow has a keen eye for comma splices, misplaced hyphens, and well-turned sentences, which she puts to good use as the content editor of The Write Practice and Short Fiction Break literary magazine. She loves to help writers hone their craft and take their writing from good to excellent.