An image of distinguishing brought from bought

Brought vs Bought: A Common Confusion

Picture this: You're at a restaurant, enjoying a delicious meal with your friends. Suddenly, one of your friends exclaims, "I brought this dessert for you!" Your other friends look around and wonder how your friend could have brought the dessert when it was clearly bought from the restaurant. Do you feel out of the loop? This scenario perfectly captures the common confusion between "brought" and "bought".

Understanding the difference between these similar-sounding words is crucial. So in this guide, we will help you clear all your confusion regarding the use of "brought" or "bought" with usage guidelines and examples. We will also discuss pronunciation tips that can help distinguish between these two words accurately.

So let's dive right in and master the meaning of brought and bought for clearer understanding!

Understanding the Meaning of Brought and Bought

In this section, we will explore the meanings of brought and bought individually and highlight how context plays a significant role in determining which word is appropriate. In simple terms, "brought" and "bought" are past tense forms of the verbs "to bring" and "to buy."

Brought refers to the action of carrying or conveying something or someone to a specific location. It implies that an object or person has been taken from one place to another. For example, if you say, "I brought my book to school," it means you carried it with you.

On the other hand, bought suggests the act of purchasing or acquiring something in exchange for money. It implies that an item has been obtained by paying for it. For instance, if you say, "I bought a new phone," it means you acquired it by exchanging money.

The context in which these words are used plays a significant role in determining which one is appropriate. It is essential to consider whether the action involves transporting something/someone or acquiring something through a transaction.

For further clarity, let's look at some usage guidelines and understand when to correctly use brought and bought using examples.


Some Usage Guidelines and Examples

Understanding when to use brought and when to use bought is essential for clear communication in spoken English. Using the correct word ensures that your message is conveyed accurately and avoids confusion. Here are some guidelines on how to use "brought" and bought with examples:

Guidelines on when to use brought:

When referring to the action of bringing something or someone


  • He brought his laptop to the meeting.

  • She brought her favourite book to share with her friends.

In the context of bringing up a topic or introducing something


  • She brought up an interesting point during the discussion.

Guidelines on when to use bought:

When referring to a purchase made in the past


  • They bought groceries from their favourite store.

  • I bought a new dress for the party.

It can also be used metaphorically, indicating that someone has accepted or believed in an idea or concept.


  • He bought into the idea of starting his own business.

Remember to pay attention to the context and the meaning you want to convey while choosing between brought and bought. Practice using these words in various sentences to strengthen your understanding and usage skills.

Pronunciation of Brought and Bought

Pronunciation plays a significant role in distinguishing between brought and bought. Let's delve into the phonetic transcriptions of these words.

Brought is pronounced as /brɔːt/, with a long /ɔː/ sound. Bought, on the other hand, is pronounced as /bɔːt/, with a short /ɔ/ sound.

It's worth noting that there are no regional variations in the pronunciation of these words in US, UK, and Indian English. The pronunciation remains consistent across all varieties.

To improve your pronunciation of brought and bought, here are some helpful tips:

1. Pay attention to the vowel sounds: Apart from the obvious presence and absence of /r/ sound, the key difference lies in the length of the /ɔ/ sound. Practice pronouncing it correctly by focusing on the duration of the sound. Remember that brought has a longer /ɔː/ sound compared to bought's shorter /ɔ/ sound.

2. Listen to native speakers: Immerse yourself in spoken English by listening to native speakers or watching English movies or TV shows. Pay close attention to how they pronounce brought and bought.

3. Mimic native speakers: Practice pronouncing both words aloud after hearing them from native speakers. Mimicking their pronunciation will help you develop a more accurate understanding of how to differentiate between these two words.

Remember, mastering the correct pronunciation of brought and bought is crucial for effective communication in spoken English. 

How to Remember Brought and Bought?

Remembering the differences between similar words can be a challenge, but with a few helpful techniques, you'll be able to distinguish between brought and bought effortlessly.

Follow these tips to keep these words straight in your mind:

1. Associate "bring" and "brought" with the common letter "r": One way to remember the meaning of brought is to associate it with the word bring. Both bring and brought have the letter "r" and share the same root word. Whenever you think of bring, remind yourself that brought is its past tense form.

2. Create mental associations using images: Visualize a person carrying something when you think of brought. Picture someone bringing a gift or an object from one place to another. This visual representation will help solidify the meaning of brought in your mind.

3. Practice using brought and bought in sentences: The more you practice using these words correctly, the easier it will be to remember their meanings. Start by writing simple sentences that incorporate brought and bought, such as "I brought my lunch today" or "He bought a new book." Gradually challenge yourself with more complex sentences like "She brought her expertise to the team meeting."

By employing these memory aids, you can confidently differentiate between brought and bought in spoken English.

Brought vs Bought in Indian Languages

Understanding the translations and interpretations of these words in your language can help you grasp their meaning more effectively. Let's explore how brought and bought are expressed in some of the top Indian languages:


Translation of Brought

Translation of Bought





கொண்டு வரப்பட்டது







विकत घेतले


ଆଣିଲା |


Understanding these translations can help you express yourself accurately while speaking. It's important to note that context plays a significant role in determining whether to use brought or bought, so make sure to pay attention to the situation at hand.

Key Takeaways

Now that we have covered the meaning, usage guidelines, and pronunciation tips of brought vs bought, let's recap the key points we have discussed so far.

Firstly, we clarified that brought refers to bringing or carrying something to a place, while bought means to purchase or acquire something by paying for it. Since context plays a crucial role in determining which word is appropriate we have provided detailed guidelines on when to use brought and bought.

Pronunciation also plays a significant role in distinguishing between these two words. Remember that the short /ɔ/ sound in brought is different from the long /ɔː/ sound in bought. Improving your pronunciation can enhance your overall English speaking skills. We also provided translations of brought and bought in some Indian languages.

If you're looking to further enhance your English speaking skills, Clapingo is here to help! As a trusted platform for developing English speaking abilities among Indian learners, Clapingo offers comprehensive courses and individual coaching to help you improve your spoken English fluency.

So keep practising and never stop learning!


1. Is purchased brought or bought?

When you purchase something, you use the word "bought." For example, "I bought a new book yesterday." On the other hand, "brought" is used when you bring or carry something with you. So if you say, "I brought my laptop to work," it means you carried it with you.

2. What is the difference between bought and brought up?

"Bought" refers to purchasing something, while "brought up" is used when discussing upbringing or raising someone or something. For instance, "My parents brought me up with strong values."

3. How do you use bought?

"Bought" is the past tense of buy and should be used when referring to an action completed in the past. For example, "I bought a new laptop yesterday" and "She bought a beautiful dress for the party."