By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 14, 2013)
Badly means poorly, unsuccessfully, or unsatisfactorily. Bad can mean poor quality, undesirable, unpleasant, immoral, putrid, decayed, worthless, or painful (as in a bad back). When referring to feelings, it can imply guilt, shame, or regret.
She clog danced badly and felt bad as a result. (She clog danced poorly and felt shame as a result.)
His macaroni art was bad because he arranged his pasta badly. (He produced poor quality macaroni art because he arranged his pasta in an unsatisfactory manner).
Bare: (adjective) naked, uncovered; (verb) uncover
All of the eucalyptus trees in the neighbourhood were left bare after Mimsy’s herd of koalas escaped from her backyard.
Lord Sexington drew his sword and bared his rock hard chest in defiance as Princess Blah clung to his muscular thighs and begged him not to fight the glittering vampire hoard.
Bear: (verb) carry, tolerate; (noun) a big furry mammal
Lord Sexington could not bear Princess Blah’s singing any longer, so he silenced her with a kiss.
The grizzly bear ate Lord Sexington and consumed more than half of Princess Blah’s hat.
Bazaar: (noun) a market where goods and services are sold, often outdoors and typically permanent
After purchasing a flying carpet at the bazaar, Aladdin flew around the city throwing tapioca pudding on the heads of his enemies.
Bizarre: (adjective) weird, strange
Princess Jasmine found Aladdin’s pudding obsession so bizarre that she demanded he seek psychiatric help.
Beach: (noun) a sandy or rocky area near an ocean or lake, (verb) drag a boat up on shore
Dr. Zoidberg did his lobster mating dance at the beach.
Chester beached the boat next to a giant sand sculpture of Katie Perry.
Beech: (noun) a type of tree
While most people preferred pine trees and tinsel for their Christmas decorations, Vivian decorated a beech tree with a string of plastic dinosaurs and Pop Tarts.
Beat: (verb) defeat, pound, whip, punish, strike, hit with fists or an object (such as a club); (noun) a musical or poetic rhythm
Waldo beat his enemies savagely with a rubber chicken.
The music had an unusual beat, which was unsurprising, given that it was produced by two monkeys and a parrot named Zippy.
Beet: (noun) a red root vegetable
Instead of eating his beets, Milford liked to dress them in little outfits and use them to re-enact the Civil War.
Boar: (noun) wild pig
Orin thought he saw a bore, but when he noticed the animal’s suit and tie, he realized that it could not be a wild pig.
Boor: (noun) clumsy or rude person
Mumford was known as a boor because he often made negative comments about the size of other people’s nostrils.
Bore: (noun) dull person; (verb) interact with another person in a dull way so that they grow bored, be uninteresting with others; (verb) drill a hole
Natalina was a bore because she talked of nothing but paperclips.
Werner bored others with his endless ranting about gerbils.
Filbert bored holes of various sizes in his wall to store his pens, pencils, and sausage rolls.
Berth: (noun) a ship’s or train’s bunk for sleeping; a place on the water near the shore where a ship stays while awaiting its next voyage
Johnny McAlear was shocked to find a beautiful woman in the berth he’d reserved for his pet sheep, Cinnabar.
Birth: (noun) the moment when a baby emerges from the womb
According to astrologers, his date of birth was inauspicious, but he rose to become the world’s top worm charmer.
Beside: (preposition) by the side of
Wendell continued to sit beside Frannie despite the fact that she had dumped a bowl of spaghetti over his head and sprayed him with pepper spray five times over the past hour.
Besides: (preposition) in addition to or other than
Frannie couldn’t understand why she had no friends besides Wendell.
Biannual: (adjective) twice a year
The Waffle Tossing Contest, a biannual event in Sporktown, was held in January and July of each year.
Biennial: (adjective) every two years
The Peanut Butter Wrestling Championships were held biennially in Sporktown, alternating with the Pineapple Rolling Contest, which was held every other year as well.
Born: (verb) brought into existence by birth
He was born in a cotton candy factory but he died in a giant vat of molasses.
Borne: (verb) carried, transported, spread by (as in a water-borne virus)
The coffin in which the vampire Throb Glitterington slept was borne by twelve shrieking teenagers.
The spontaneous combustion virus was borne by fleas.
Bough: (noun) a branch
A tree bough fell on the Batmobile, scratching the new paint that Robin had just applied.
Bow: (verb) to bend, incline, show respect by inclining one’s head or body; (noun) a ship’s front area; (noun) a knot with two loose ends and two loops, typically used when tying shoelaces or in decorative items; (noun) a weapon used to shoot arrows; (noun) the rod used to play stringed instruments such as the violin
Bilbo bowed deeply to show his respect for King Chunk.
Bartleby’s prize pig broke loose and rushed to the bow of the boat, ruining a romantic moment between Kate and Leo.
Lydia always wore a gigantic yellow velvet bow in her hair when appearing in court for various misdemeanours.
Vera released arrow after arrow from her bow until she had destroyed every one of her brother’s My Little Pony dolls.
When they saw Miranda apply her bow to her violin, Jimmy and Tawna put in earplugs but Randolph, lacking any means to block out the horrible sounds, had no choice but to jump out the window.
Brake: (noun) the device used to make a vehicle stop, often used in plural, as in a car’s brakes; (verb) apply brakes to stop a moving vehicle
Mel hit the brakes but didn’t manage to stop the car in time to avoid driving into Barbara’s Jell-O wrestling pit.
Warren braked quickly to avoid hitting Mrs. Montague’s favourite turtle as it slowly crossed the road.
Break: (noun) a pause; (verb) to separate something into pieces suddenly, often forcefully or even violently (past tense: broke)
Mortimer took a break from surfing the Internet on his phone to assess his surroundings and determine which planet his spaceship had landed on.
When he realized that he was still on earth and did not actually have a spaceship, Mortimer broke his phone into hundreds of little pieces by stomping on it repeatedly.
Breach: (verb) fail to fulfil promises or agreements (as in a breach of trust), break a rule; (verb) break through something; (noun) a gap
Magma’s theft of Ricardo’s underwear was a breach of their roommate agreement.
The whale breached the water’s surface, gave Max a disgusted look, and then returned to the depths of the ocean.
Breech: (noun) part of a gun barrel
Attempting to identify the breech of his loaded gun led to Stan’s snazzy new eye patch and his career as a pirate.
Broach: (verb) bring something up for discussion
Guinevere kept trying to broach the subject of Lancelot’s embarrassing fashion choices, but she could never bring herself to say anything because she knew how much he loved that giant pink hat.
Brooch: (noun) piece of jewelry that is pinned to clothing
Quilla wore a broach in the shape of a marmot standing on a squashed pie.
- Casagrande, J. (2006). Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language tor Fun and Spite. Penguin, New York.
- Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. (2004). 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses & Misuses. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin Company.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2013). Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Merrriam-Webster.com.
- O’Conner, P. T. (1996). Woe Is I, the Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
- Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. (2013). Oxford University Press. OALD8.OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com.