Difference Between Bored & Board

Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature. He has taught college English for 5+ years.

'Bored' and 'board' are homonyms that are commonly mistaken for each other, but have very different meanings and also do different things in a sentence. This lesson will help you to remember the difference between these two words.

Bored and Board

Sitting through an endless lecture on molecular biology, you decide to pass a note to your friend in the next row. 'I'm so bored!' you write. Or is it, 'I'm so board!' Now you wish you had paid closer attention in English class.

'Bored' and 'board' are hononyms, meaning they sound alike but have different spellings and meanings. And not only do 'bored' and 'board' mean different things, they also do different jobs. Every word has a job that it performs in a sentence, or sometimes more than one, and this is called its part of speech. There are nine categories of speech that describes the function words play in a sentence.

'Bored' is always an adjective, or descriptive word. 'Board,' on the other hand, can be a noun, or thing, or a verb, meaning an action.

This girl is bored. Not board.

I'm Bored

Let's start with 'bored,' which is the more straightforward of the two. As we already established, it is an adjective, which describes a noun. And 'bored' is used to describe a noun (usually a person or sometimes an animal) who is unoccupied with their current activity, as we see in these examples:

  • Becky was so bored in linguistics class she fell asleep and hit her head on the desk.
  • John and Jill played Monopoly but got bored before they finished the game.
  • My dog Skip never gets bored with chasing a Frisbee. He would do it all day if I let him.

This is the only definition and part of speech for 'bored.' Like I said: pretty straightforward.

Stiff as a Board

'Board,' however, is a little more complicated, as it has multiple definitions and parts of speech. Let's start with the noun form. Nouns, of course, refer to people, places, and things. When using board as a noun, it refers to a cut piece of wood, usually used for building:

  • I need a dozen 2x4 boards to finish this wall.
  • Jim painted a bullseye on a board so he could play darts.
  • Actors often refer to 'treading the boards' in reference to performing on a stage, which is made of boards.

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