April 5th, 2013

grammar -- from cmzero

Blast From the Past: "breath" vs. "breathe"

This week's Blast from the Past will take another look at the difference between breath and breathe. This is a common mistake in writing. Not surprisingly, it's also a popular request, having been quite thoroughly discussed both in 2008 and more recently by achacunsagloire in 2012.

So let's take another look at these words with a little help from our friends over at Once Upon a Time.

The easy difference between breath and breathe is a single letter, which seems to be where the errors fall in execution. But it's also the difference between a noun and a verb.

Breath is a noun, usually indicating an intake of air to the lungs.
The moment Snow White placed the kiss of True Love on his lips, David sucked in a massive breath and opened his eyes.

Breathe is a verb that signifies the act of taking in and releasing a breath.
Regina breathed the heady magic into her lungs, feeling it hit her like a drug.

It really boils down to remembering this one simple rule. Breathe is a verb, so it gets an extra e on the end.