Grammar 8 min read

Breath vs. Breathe: Easiest way to Tell the Difference

Main Breath vs. Breathe Takeaways:

  • Breath and breathe are not the same.
  • Breath (without an “e” at the end) is a noun (a breath).
  • Use breath to describe one cycle of breathing.
  • For example, a breath is the air that you take in when you inhale as well as the air that comes out when you exhale (I could see my breath while we played in the snow).
  • Easily make breath plural by adding an “s” (breath >> breaths)
  • Breathe (with an “e” at the end) is a verb (to breathe).
  • Use breathe to describe the act of inhaling or exhaling air.
Take a deep breathe and count to five.
Take a deep breath and count to five.
Just breathe and have faith that things will work out.
Each breath hurt while Valentina recovered from pneumonia.
Two panels. Left panel shows a woman outside and is cold, bundled up wearing a winter scarf and hat. She's saying,
Breath and breathe mean different things. Breath is a noun, which describes the air that you inhale or exhale. Breathe is a verb, which describes the act of pulling air into your lungs, pushing it out, or both.

What is the Difference Between Breath and Breathe?

The main difference between breath and breath is that breath (no “e” at the end) is noun while breathe (with an “e” at the end) is a verb. On one hand, breath is thing (How long can you hold your breath?). It describes the air that you inhale or exhale. Additionally, it can describe one full cycle of breathing (inhale, then exhale). On the other hand, breathe is an action (Don’t forget to breathe!). It describes the act of pulling air into your lungs, pushing it out, or both. Another difference is how we pronounce these. For example, the breath has a short “e” sound (like wet) compared to the verb breathe’s long “e” sound (like seethe).

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Breathe in deeply, then exhale slowly and count each breath.

The Easiest Way to Remember the Difference Between Breath vs. Breathe:

  1. Remember that one is a noun (breath) and one is a verb (breathe).
  2. Associate the “e” in “verb” with the extra “e” at the end of the verb breathe.
  3. Confirm that word “noun” doesn’t have an “e.” In the same way, the noun breath doesn’t have an “e” at the end.

What Does the Word Breathe Mean?

The word breathe means the act of pulling oxygen and air into the lungs (to inhale) and then pushing gaseous waste like carbon dioxide and water vapor out of the lungs (to exhale). Essentially, the word breathe is a verb we use to describe the act of breathing. Synonym for breathe include respire, inhale, and exhale. In this way, breathe can describe one part of the breathing cycle or the entire cycle. What’s more, some may also use this word to suggest that someone relax or take a pause for reflection.

In short, breathe describes the process of breathing. When you breathe, you inhale or exhale air from your lungs.

😤 Breathe definition: (verb) the act of bringing air into your lungs, then releasing the air.
Breathe with e is a verb. It's the act of inhaling and exhaling. Breath without e is noun. It refers to the full cycle of breathing or the air breathed.
The verb to breathe does have an “e” at the end. On the other hand, the noun breath does not have an “e” at the end.

How to Pronounce Breath vs. Breathe?

Breath has a short ‘e,’ but breathe has a long ‘e’ like the one found in breathing. The middle of breath makes an ‘eh’ sound, like elephant or elevator (breth).The middle of breathe makes an ‘ee’ sound, like tree or peel (breeth). If you see an ‘e’ at the end, that’s a clue to pronounce the word with a long ‘e’ in the middle — breeth.

👂 How to Correctly Say Breath vs. Breathe:

  • Breath pronunciation: breth (should sound similar to the word left)
  • Breathe pronunciation: breeth (should sound similar to the word tree or rhyme perfectly with seethe)

Does Breath Have an “E” at the end?

The verb to breathe does have an “e” at the end. On the other hand, the noun breath does not have an “e” at the end. In this way, you can remember the difference between breath vs. breathe by remembering that one is a noun and one is a verb. Associate the “e” in breathe with the “e” in verb. Similarly, just like breath, the word noun doesn’t have an “e.”

What is the Plural for Breath?

The plural of the noun breath is breaths. Simply add an “s” at the end to describe more than one breath of air.

Paul took several deep breaths then knocked on his supervisor’s door.
The doctor said Sue should call if she notices short, shallow breaths after starting her new medication.

How do you Spell Breathe in Past Tense?

Spell breathe in past tense as breathed (B-R-E-A-T-H-E-D). You can make the verb breathe past tense simply by adding a “d” at the end of the word.

How do you use Breath and Breathe in a Sentence?

Here are examples of how to use breath and breathe in a sentence:

When you breathe out of your mouth, you release your breath.
He found it hard to breathe in the crowded auditorium; each breath was difficult.
His breath was so awful, I prayed he wouldn’t continue to breathe in my direction.

How do you use Breath in a Sentence?

Here are examples of how to use breath in a sentence:

Diego lost his breath when he saw his fiancee descend the stairs in a resplendent evening gown.
Jon gasped for breath after an intense game of tag with his nieces and nephews.
Taking a breath is an autonomic function. This means that it happens without us remembering to do it, but we can still take conscious control over the action when we want.
Shortness of breath can be a surprising sign that your blood pressure is too high.
She sighed dramatically then took a couple deep breaths to to calm herself.
Don’t waste your breath explaining where you were. It doesn’t matter.
💨 Use breath in a sentence to refer to the air that your lungs inhaled or exhaled. Since breath is a noun, it describes the result of breathing rather than the act of breathing.

How do you use Breathe in a Sentence?

Here are examples of how to use the verb breathe in a sentence:

Why does your dog breathe so heavily?
Bring an inhaler during your run-in case you struggle to breathe.
Lucy finds it hard to breathe when she’s nervous.
Tyler could hardly breathe under his thick Halloween mask.
When anxiety strikes, breathe in and out slowly.
😮‍💨Use breathe in a sentence to describe the act of breathing. Since breathe is a verb, it describes an action rather than a thing.

What Does Have a Breath Mean?

The phrases “have a breath” (UK English) or “take a breath” (US English) are idioms that means to pause. In this way, breath usually refers to a relatively short pause for rest or reflection. For example, if you’ve been awake since 5 a.m. running errands non-stop, you might say, “I haven’t even had time to take a breath” or “to breathe.” Or, maybe a colleague is extremely stressed about an upcoming presentation. You might say, “Just have a breathe. Everything will be fine!”

Breath vs. Breathe Idioms

These two words appear in numerous sayings and idioms. This is no surprise since breathing is a core part of virtually all life forms and survival. Here are comprehensive lists of the best breathe and br

List of Breath Idioms:

  • all in one breath
  • be wasting breath
  • breath of fresh air
  • breath of life
  • breath of wind
  • catch my breath
  • curse under breath
  • draw last breath
  • draw your breath
  • gasp for breath
  • get a second breath
  • hold your breath
  • in one breath
  • in the same breath
  • keep your breath
  • out of breath
  • save your breath
  • take a breath
  • take my breath away
  • under your breath
  • waste your breath
  • with bated breath
  • with every breath

List of Breathe Idioms:

  • able to breathe
  • breathe a sigh of relief
  • breathe again
  • breathe down someone’s neck
  • breathe easily
  • breathe easy
  • breathe fire
  • breathe freely
  • breathe into something
  • breathe last
  • breathe last breath
  • breathe life into
  • breathe on
  • breathe upon something/someone
  • breathe your last
  • hardly have time to breathe
  • live and breathe
  • no time to breathe
  • not breathe a word
  • won’t breathe a word

Do you Breathe or Breath? Let’s put Your Knowledge to the Test

Breath vs. Breathe Question #1

“Breath” and “breathe” have the same pronunciation.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is FALSE. Although breath and breathe have similar meanings, they are pronounced differently.

Breathe Question #2

What part of speech is “breathe?”
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is C. “Breathe” is a verb that describes the act of inhaling or exhaling air.

Breath Question #3

Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is A. “Breath” is a noun that describes an inhalation or exhalation of air.

Breath or Breathe Question #4

Jim avoided his boss because he had bad ______.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is A. “Breath” describes the result of breathing rather than the act of breathing.

Breathe or Breath Question #5

Fishes _____ in water.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. “Breathe” describes an action rather than a thing.

Breath vs. Breathe Quiz Result
Expert!

Expert!

Not bad!

Not bad!

Almost got it! Review the article and try again.

Almost got it! Review the article and try again.

Read More: Advice vs. Advise: If you Think They’re the Same, You’re Wrong

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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    Amal Mohamed December 16 at 8:05 pm GMT

    hhyyyy

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      Krista Grace Morris Author December 18 at 3:03 pm GMT

      Hey, Amal! Thanks for your comment and for reading our article. How did you score on the quiz? Cheers!

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