When we’re talking about the past tense of “born” there will be some people who wrongly say “borned”.
Borned or born?
The past tense of “born” is “born”, there is no such word as “borned”. The correct version is thus, “I was born” not “I was borned”. A simple rule to remember this is to replace “born” with “shot”. You would never say “I was shooted”, you would just say “I was shot”.
In this article, I want to take a look at what it means to be born, where the word comes from, what type of word “born” is, why we don’t say “borned”, and what “bore” and “bear” mean in comparison to “born”.
Hopefully, at the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea all about the word “born”.
Do you need to alive to be born?
If I were to ask you, “who/what gets born?”, there will be a few of you who tell me that only humans and animals can be born.
All humans and all animals were indeed “born” at one stage in their lives, but you don’t need to be alive to be born.
Often, when successful people are talking about their story, they might say something along the lines of “the idea was born when I was talking to a friend of mine in the pub”.
When something goes from pub singer to big pop star, you might say that “a star is born”.
Origin of the word “born”
In Old English, “born” was “boren” which was the past tense of “beran”, these words both came from “bear” (which is always a verb).
“Boren” and “Beran” both came from the Proto-Germanic “Beranan”, which came from the Proto-Indo-European “bher” which has several meanings. But the one that we want to pay attention to today is “give birth”.
From the word “bher”, we’ve got all our words related to birth such as born, bear, and bore. They have different but closely related meanings.
What type of word is “born”?
Sometimes, “born” can be used as a verb.
In case you’ve forgotten what your English teacher taught you, a verb is a doing word. The word “born” is a verb when used in the sentence “I was born in 1998”.
Being born is the action that you were performing at the time.
Other times, “born” can be an adjective.
In case you’ve forgotten, an adjective is a word used to describe something. “Born” is an adjective when saying “I have one born child, and one on the way”.
Here, “born” is being used to describe a child.
“Born” is somehow both a verb AND an adjective. Let’s call it a “verbal adjective”.
Other words that are both
“Born” isn’t the only word that blurs the line between verbs and adjectives. Other words do something similar.
“Read” (pronounced ‘red’) can be a verb or an adjective too. As a verb, you could say “I have already read that book”, here reading is an action.
As an adjective you might say “I always buy read books because they’re cheaper”, a “read book” is a book that somebody else has already read.
“Firm” can be a verb in the sentence “I will firm my muscles at the gym”. It can also be an adjective in the sentence “My muscles are firm because of the gym”.
Why “borned” isn’t a word
We’ve already managed to establish that “borned” is not a real word, and you shouldn’t be using it. But why not?
“Born” is the word to use, regardless as to whether you’re speaking in the past, present, or future tense.
I was born in 1998.
My child is currently being born.
My brother’s child will be born in six months.
The reason for this is because “born” is an irregular verb, and therefore is subject to different rules. The reason it’s an irregular verb is that English is weird.
Bore, Bornt, Bear
Let’s take a look at some of the words related to “born” and when you should be using them.
“Bore” is to be used when you’re talking about someone giving birth in the past. For example, you might say “My wife bore my first child one year after our wedding”. You can also say “My wife birthed my first child”. You would never say “I was bored”, as this has an entirely different meaning.
Bornt is the past tense of “born” but only if you happen to be in Newcastle.
And “Bear” is the future tense of giving birth. So I would say “my wife will bear a child”.
Babies can be born, but they can’t bore or bear.
Examples of how to use “born”
Here is a quick list of some of the phrases we use that contain the word “born”.
- A “born again Christian” is someone who converted from another/no religion to Christianity.
- If you were “born this way”, nothing will be able to change you.
- When someone has been lucky throughout their life, you might say they were “born with a silver spoon in their mouth”.
- People who are slobs are said to have been “born in a barn”.
- People who are “born and bred” somewhere are proud of their hometown and how it’s managed to shape them.
English is weird
If there is one thing I’ve managed to convince you of throughout this article, I’m guessing it’s that the English language is weird, and often very confusing.
We have a load of rules, and then, a load of words that go against the rules. What’s the point in having rules if we’re just gonna break them all the time?
I’m guessing that many of you will be foreigners learning English. If you struggle with our language, don’t feel bad.
The word “borned” is not a word, the past tense of “born” is simply “born”. The rules it follows are different from the ones the other verbs follow.
This applies to people, animals, ideas, or stars.
The word “born” has an etymology related to “bore” and “bear”, which have similar but slightly different meanings to “born”.
“Born” is a word that manages to blur the line between a verb and an adjective. Much like “read” and “firm”, what type of word “born” is changes based on the context.
Remember, I wasn’t “borned” in 1998, I was born in 1998.