Don’t stink up your writing: Breathe vs. breath

Ever see words so mixed up that you wanted to pinch your nose shut? That happens with me whenever I see these two words confused.

“Breathe” is to inhale and exhale, as in “We must breathe oxygen to stay alive.”

“Breath” is a solitary moment of inhaling or exhaling or the actual air that is inhaled/exhaled, as in “He stopped to catch his breath” or “His breath stunk like garlic.”

In short, you may not want to breathe someone’s breath.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.