GRAMMAR – Active or Passive (to bear)

The verb “to bear” has a few different meanings in English.

  • to carry – They arrived bearing gifts.
  • to support – The wall can’t bear the weight of the building.
  • to endure – She can’t bear his bad moods.
  • to turn and follow a direction – Bear left at the fork ahead.
  • to give birth to – She bore a healthy baby boy.

Here I want to focus on one particular meaning: “to give birth.”

ACTIVE: She bore (gave birth to) a healthy baby boy.
In this sentence ‘she’ is the subject and ‘a heaelthy baby boy’ is the object.

PASSIVE: A healthy baby boy was born (to her).
Now the ‘healthy baby boy’ is the subject and we’ve made the sentence passive by adding the verb ‘to be’ + the past participle of bear (born).

Usually when we talk about ourselves and our birth, we use the passive voice.
“I was born in Dublin” is so much more common that “My mother bore me in Dublin.”


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