‘Born out of necessity’ borne out by the facts

Is the phrase “borne out of necessity” — as the writer for Yahoo! Style alleges — or “born out of necessity”?

borne out of

It’s the latter. Both born and borne are the past tense and past participle of the verb bear.

Use born when you mean to bring forth by actual or figurative birth or being natural or innate: born free, born to be wild, American-born, born leader, and born of necessity.

For all other meanings of bear, borne is the correct word. It’s used when bear means to support, carry, hold in mind, or suffer: borne in mind, food-borne, and borne out by the facts.

It’s borne out by your writing

Some people love words. They love the sound of words, the way a word looks on paper or the screen. They love the meaning of words. The writer for Yahoo! Shine is not one of those people. It is borne out by her writing:

The word borne is the past participle of bear. The expression bear out means confirm; borne out means confirmed.

Bear with me

Bear with me on this one. The verb bear actually has two past tenses: born and borne. If you’re writing about birth, then you have to choose between them. Not to get all grammar-nerdy on you, but if the verb is passive, then use born; if it’s active, use borne. Yeah, I hate talk like that, too. So here’s an example: I was born to a mother who had already borne two children.

If you’re writing about anything else not having to do with birth, use borne. All of which brings me to this example from Yahoo! News, which bears only a slight resemblance to the correct word:

A mosquito-borne disease is one that is transmitted by mosquitoes.

%d bloggers like this: