Breath vs Breathe — What’s The Difference?

In everyday English, it’s easy to confuse “breath” and “breathe,” but the difference is straightforward.

“Breath” is a noun that refers to the air taken in or expelled from the lungs. “Breathe,” on the other hand, is a verb meaning to inhale or exhale air. For more on nouns and verbs, check out this article on the parts of speech.

These words are pronounced differently, too.

“Breath” is pronounced with an “eh” sound, while “breathe” is pronounced with a long e sound — “ee.”

Whether you’re speaking with a friend or writing professionally for a business, understanding this distinction is crucial for clear communication. Using these words correctly matters.

This article will clarify their meanings and usage, highlighting why such nuances are important in professional and everyday language and potentially saving you some embarrassment in the future!

Breath — How To Use It Properly

“Breath” is a noun that refers to the air inhaled and exhaled from the lungs. It doesn’t have past or future tenses, as it is not a verb. However, it’s often used in contexts that imply time. Here are three examples:

  1. “With every breath I take, I feel more relaxed.”
  2. “He held his breath before diving into the pool.”
  3. “We will catch our breath after this brisk walk.”

Breathe — How To Use It Properly

“Breathe” is a verb that means to draw air into, and expel out of, the lungs. Its past tense is “breathed” and the future tense is “will breathe.” Here are three examples using these forms:

  1. “Remember to breathe deeply during your meditation.”
  2. “She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the good news.”
  3. “Tomorrow, we will breathe the fresh mountain air.”

Breath Vs Breathe — Using Them Together

The nuanced differences between “breath” and “breathe” can be enlightening and occasionally humorous.

  1. “Take a deep breath in before you breathe out slowly to calm your nerves.”
  2. “As she caught her breath, she realized she had been holding it longer than she needed to breathe.”
  3. “During yoga, we focus on the breath we take in and consciously breathe out to relax.”
  4. “In the next team meeting, let’s all take a collective breath and try not to breathe too loudly when the budget is discussed!”

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