TL;DR – “Breathe” is a verb meaning to inhale and exhale air, while “breath” is a noun referring to the air taken in or expelled during breathing.
“Breath” and “breathe” are commonly confused English words that, while related in meaning, serve distinct grammatical functions.
Part of Speech: Noun
Definition: “Breath” refers to the actual air inhaled or exhaled during the act of breathing. It can also be used in idioms such as “a breath of fresh air,” meaning something new and refreshing, or “last breath,” implying the final moment before death.
- “I could see her breath in the cold air.”
- “His bad breath made it difficult to have a close conversation.”
- “She was a breath of fresh air in the meeting.”
Part of Speech: Verb
Definition: “Breathe” denotes the action of inhaling and exhaling air. The process of taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide is vital for life. The word “breathe” can also be used metaphorically, as in “breathe new life” into something, meaning to revitalize.
- “It’s essential to breathe deeply during meditation.”
- “Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.”
- “The funding helped breathe new life into the project.”
To help English learners remember the distinction: “breathe” (with the “e” at the end) is the verb, representing the action, while “breath” (without the final “e”) is the noun, signifying the actual air inhaled or exhaled. The extra letter “e” in “breathe” adds a vowel sound, which mirrors the elongated action of inhaling and exhaling, making it easier to differentiate the two in both spoken and written English.
How do you use breath or breathe in a sentence?
Certainly! Here’s how you can use “breath” and “breathe” in sentences:
Breath (noun referring to the air taken into or expelled from the lungs):
- After running up the stairs, she was out of breath.
- His breath smelled strongly of garlic.
- When I heard the news, it took my breath away.
Breathe (verb referring to the act of taking air into the lungs and then expelling it):
- It’s important to breathe deeply when meditating.
- Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
- I find it hard to breathe in smoky environments.
Remember: “Breath” is the noun (the thing) and “breathe” is the verb (the action).
Published on: 2023-09-30
Updated on: 2023-10-06