Language tip of the week: breath vs breathePosted by Kati Sule on September 13, 2011
In this weekly microblog, we’ll bring to English language learners even more useful content from the dictionary. These tips will be based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, etc) which learners often find difficult.
This week: breath vs breathe
Don’t confuse breath (a noun) and breathe (a verb).
Breath is pronounced /breθ/ and means ‘the air that goes in and out of your body through your nose or mouth’:
I could smell whisky on his breath.
Breathe is pronounced /briːð/ and means ‘to take air into your lungs through your nose or mouth and let it out again’:
✗ Without plants, we could scarcely
✓ Without plants, we could scarcely breathe.
✗ These children have to
✓ These children have to breathe contaminated air.
Would you like to improve your English more by looking at similar examples? Check the spelling and listen to the pronunciation of these noun/verb pairs:
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