Using Brought vs Bought

Instructor: Margaret Stone

Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

The words 'brought' and 'bought' are very similar, but they have completely different meanings. Using these words correctly is easy once you understand the differences in the words.


Understanding the difference between 'brought' and 'bought' is easy once we understand the meaning of these two words.

'Brought' is the past participle of the word bring. On the other hand, 'bought' is the past participle of the verb buy.

Notice that the two words rhyme; that is, they sound alike. Despite the similar sounds of the words, however, they have different meanings.


Sometimes it is helpful to look at a word's synonyms, or other words that mean the same thing, when you are learning the word's meaning. Here are some synonyms of the two words 'bought' and 'brought'.

All of the following words mean the same as brought. 'Carried', 'bore', and 'took' are synonyms of the word 'brought'.

Synonyms for the word bought include 'purchased', 'obtained', and 'paid for'. All of these words have the same meaning as the word 'bought'.


Here is an example of the appropriate use of the word brought in a sentence.

Everyone 'brought' their swimsuits to the pool party yesterday.

The following is an example of the word 'bought' in a sentence.

My brother just 'bought' a new car.

Occasionally, these two words may appear in the same sentence. For example, 'My mother 'brought' her delicious chocolate cake to the bake sale, and someone 'bought' it as soon as she set it down.

Forms of Buy and Bring

Brought vs bought

Now that you know how to use 'bought' and 'brought' appropriately, let's look at the way these verbs change forms.

The present tense of the verb 'to buy' is simply 'buy'. The past tense form, as we have already seen, is 'bought'. The future tense of 'to buy' is 'will buy'.

The present tense of the verb 'to bring' is 'bring'. The past tense of this verb is 'brought', and the future tense of 'to bring' is 'will bring'.

Notice that these two verbs change forms in exactly the same way.

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