Bought vs. Brought: They're two separate words!

posted 1999-Dec-13

My fianceé told me that she'd never heard it said, but I seem to hear it all the time. Perhaps it's a northeast thing:

Have you ever heard someone say "bought" when they meant "brought"? As in "I bought this over for you" or "I bought it along just in case"?

Well I have. And I don't like it.

Buy   -> Bought
Bring -> Brought

Practice that twice before you go to bed tonight.

08:48PM ET
Nope, never heard someone misuse it.
Dain Kistner
08:09AM ET
And how about the "their, there" kind of thing? P***es me OFF! (btw - IRP did it in their job openings just everybody line up and we will proceed with the floggings in an orderly fashion...)
Gavin Kistner
11:31AM ET
Oh my, I'm rather embarrassed that my company produced that mistake. At least it was correctly used several times earlier. But, I consider their/there/they're and your/you're to be spelling mistakes--they're homonyms, so at least when speaking people get them right. IMO, bought/brought is one step worse, because they just sound similar, not the same!
Kaye Lermitte
09:08PM ET
I'm afraid that brought vs. bought might just be bad grammer that the Jim Junge family adopted on their very own. It sounds very familialas well as familiar. But I think that the next time I want to speak of a queasy occurrence in my stomach ,I will just say I think I'm going to barf!
03:09PM ET
I've never heard bought transposed for brought. I *have* heard people say "of" when they mean "have" -- moreover I've seen people make that error *in writing*. E.g., "I would of done it, but somebody else beat me to it." Pleh!

I feel like I've heard this more and more as time has gone on, too. Similarly, I remember when "broughah" only needed one "hah". At some point in time, though, the *joking* form "brew-hah-hah" somehow entered the public consciousness as the standard form of the nice old obscure "broughah" (which I may be mispelling). Like an invading species, this meme has taken over to the point that I've heard theoretically respectable sources use "brew-hah-hah", and I have not heard the mono-hah form used ONCE in at least two years. Wazzupwidat?
Gavin Kistner
03:35PM ET
Much as I love a good "Yeah! Idiots! Grahl!", I'm gonna have to leave you on your own on this one. As far as I can tell, it's spelled with the full measure of double laughter, "brouhaha".
Thayer York
11:46AM ET
Curious on the "would of" vs. "would have". I can imagine someone using the contraction "would've" and it sounding like "would of", but you've seen someone write "would of"? I agree - Pleh!
Gavin Kistner
11:51AM ET
Interesting! I'd assumed that the path was:
"would have" -> "would of"
directly (through the similar sound), but I bet you're right. Yeah! I now feel certain that it went through the contraction:
"would have" -> "would've" -> "would of"
Well done!
05:28PM ET
Thanks - I was writing a letter and suddenly had a mental blank about brought/bought. I had a look on the internet to see if anyone could verify and here you are! I was pleased to see that I had chosen correctly.
04:10PM ET
In the midlands I hear it the other way round all the time. I brought this in Asda. No you didnt - you bought it aarrggghh get it right please
Gavin Sinclair
01:33AM ET
I've heard 'bought' uttered incorrectly more than a thousand times during my life, and it never gets easier to take :)

A side comment on 'would', now that previous comments have reminded me. How often do you hear/read this: "If you would've arrived earlier we wouldn't be late."

Go back to school, people!
Peter Thompson
04:18AM ET
I estimate that >90% of the UK population say bought when brought would be correct. It may be due to the general weakness of the r in English pronunciation but I hate it with a passion
11:03AM ET
this is one of my pet hates. brought v bought. to make things worse, fatboy slim in his glastonbury set this year has a huge screen with 'bought to you by.." written on it. check out the bbc r1 page for the evidence

brought to you by Ted, who bought a new keyboard today.


04:57PM ET
Ah, I'm always confused on this one. I guess I use them without regard. I tell Shannon she needs to figure out which context I'm using the term in to figure out which is the definition.
Gavin Kistner
06:09PM ET
Interestingly, I was in Europe this past week and heard a reporter for BBC incorrectly use the word "bought" when she meant "brought", as well as an English woman on a television show. Perhaps there's an English influence of which I was not aware.
Brittany Taylor
11:33AM ET
I hate this! My friend, Lynee' has a little problem distinguishing these two words. She definately needs to practice each night before going to bed.
Jared Blitzstein
10:31PM ET
They're not even close in meaning. I don't even see how that could be a dialect thing.
02:28PM ET

Omg! I hate this error!

01:28PM ET

Before moving to New Zealand I had not come across the bought/brought misuse. I hear it/see it written all the time, I just want to shake people. :-)

Rachel Houck
07:46PM ET

I live on the west coast and have never heard this particular irritating word switch. Have any of you heard people saying, “acrost” instead of “across”? I’ve even heard educated, articulate people say it. It drives me CRAZY! I started to hear it about 15 years ago when I moved to a small town (pop 5,400), thought it was just a small town thing, but then I started to hear it in the Bay Area and on tv! Aargh!

Anna Chavez
09:12AM ET

In my entire 40 years of life, living both in the west and east coast in America, have I ever heard or seen bought or brought misused. I can’t imagine how this can happen or that it’s a thing in other English speaking areas. Thanks for the nauseous vs nauseated thread.

Liam Brown
07:38AM ET

My brother asked me the same question a few years ago ;- “have you heard anyone mixing up the words “bought and brought”, as his colleagues in Chesterfield, Derbyshire get it wrong a lot. I hadn’t heard it then, but nowadays i hear it all the time. I’ve seen a columnist for the guardian use the wrong option (I find it’s usually brought that replaces bought”.

I’m glad other people have noticed this. It appears to be creeping in the local vernacular in certain parts of the UK.

What prompted me to search whether anyone else is seeing this is because of an email i rec’d in EBAY.

QUOTE Dear liambr3,

hi there how much would postage be if I brought 5 of your mini figures thanks

  • jacquelene88


It’s a strangely insidious grammatical error to make… I’d never got it wrong before, but this has now been discussed so many times with my friends/family that i’ve even used it wrong on one occasion myself since… help!!

Ignatius oswaldtwistle
03:21AM ET

Could of/could have.there/their.bought/brought. Pacific/specific. Etc. etc Why do people say meesic when they mean music?

12:58PM ET

Thanks for the Nauseous vs. Nauseated. As a pregnant woman, I really needed clarification!

I’ve never heard the Bought vs. Brought confusion…

Could you help explain effect vs. affect in such a way that I will remember it forever?

Also, my rant – and this may be an east coast thing as well: It is a quarter to 9 - not a quarter of 9 – right??!

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