#FromTheArchives – #WhyWriteWrong – Originally Posted July 14, 2017

Twice lately, I have been pulled right out of a story I was reading by the phrase “baited breath,” and I realized this is a mistake far too many people are making. One does not have “baited breath” unless one has been eating worms or shiners. Honest.

The correct word in this case is “bated,” as in “abated” meaning something that has ceased happening. Like breathing. In other words, the phrase “bated breath” means someone is holding his breath, whereas to say “baited breath” implies someone has very odd dining habits.

The Serious Example:

The accused murderer awaited the jury’s verdict with bated breath. (He was holding his breath).

The Silly example:

The cat ate every shiner in the pail and ended up with baited breath.  (The cat now smells fishy.)

Hope this helps sort out the difference between bated and baited. (But I’m not holding my breath here. 😀 )


I am not an English teacher, grammarian, or expert on all matters of this nature, but I promise I have consulted with those who are before posting anything in this series.


32 thoughts on “#FromTheArchives – #WhyWriteWrong – Originally Posted July 14, 2017

  1. Hee hee. Yes, English spelling can really trip one up! Thanks for the laugh.
    BTW – I finished The Emissary last night, reviewed this morning. 🙂 I just had to run over here and tell you what a great read it was. Well done. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • English spelling, indeed. 😀 Always tricky, so it pays to be extra careful. Plus, there are those times when you actually do know the difference, but your fingers don’t, and type the wrong word, anyway. 😯

      Oooh, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed The Emissary! I’ll be checking your review shortly, and thank you for it most gratefully. I’m 90% of the way through “Sunwielder” and just amazed at your take on time travel. It’s a terrific story and I do love Gryff! Can’t wait to see how it turns out! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • I really am, and I’m desperately trying to figure out where Gryff is going to end up. Or should I say “when?” It’s great!

          And I just read your review of The Emissary. It’s lovely, thank you, and I’m so pleased it pulled you in. As for Jake & Dodger’s relationship, the real growth occurs in The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody, right along with their ever-expanding strengths. Still plenty of laughs and plenty of tears, I think, with a side order of tongue in cheek. 😀 Hope you get a chance to read it. Like the first one, you can finish it in an evening.

          Speaking of finishing tonight, I’m hoping to finish Sunwielder, before I go crazy from curiosity! 😀 Will let you know if I manage to accomplish that. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

    • I’d much rather make learning fun than make it a chore, so I’m glad you feel that way, Mae. It’s how I remember things like this, myself. 😀 Thanks for stopping by, as I slowly start to get these things going again. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good guess, Mary. They are small bait fish, very silvery, hence the name. 🙂 And most bait shops sell them as just that: shiners. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and for me, humor is almost always the best way to get a message across. The original post garnered a TON of replies and long conversations, so I figured it would be a good one to pull from the archives to start the ball rolling. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, I’m not sure I could have kept a straight face! That’s hilarious! But hopefully, she hasn’t put it in a book somewhere. I fully understand using the wrong word or mispronunciation of words in daily speech (though it can still be funny). We all do it now and then. But when it occurs in a published book, it’s a whole ‘nuther matter. And I’m kind of shocked at how many errors I’m seeing lately, even by Big Name (capital letters) writers.

      But again. I would have struggled to keep from laughing during your meeting, too. 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ha. A whole ‘nuther matter is southernese idiom. Many of my characters use/have used the phrase, because it’s very common down here. But it would only show up in dialogue. On the other hand, baited breath is enough to make me stop cold every time I see it. If I’m already in love with the book, I might let it slide, because otherwise, there are so many things like that out there, I’d soon have nothing to read. 😀 How much I’m willing to overlook usually depends on how much pleasure the book or characters are already giving me. But it will definitely pull me out of the story and have me wondering about the writer AND the editor.

          I’ll be sharing a couple of others I see more often than ought to be the case, so stay tuned. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think. 😀 (And boo, hiss to “would of.” 😦 )

          Liked by 1 person

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