Breath vs. Breathe

How to use "breath" and "breathe" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

When you need a noun, use breath; when you need a verb, use breathe:

take a deep breathe
take a deep breath

breath deeply and relax
breathe deeply and relax

breathing heavily after the hike (derived from breathe)

The adjective form breathy is derived from the noun and is also pronounced with a “short e” sound:

breathy singing style

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.