Hi, Folks! Hope your day is going well so far, you’ve been staying safe and healthy at home, and you’re now ready for another #WhyWriteWrong post. 😊




As you might imagine, I have loads of these misunderstood words and phrases at hand, because many of us do use them incorrectly now and then, including me. So I keep a list, both as fodder for this series of posts, and as a reminder to be on the alert when using any of them in my own books.

Again, these are not words that have been mistyped, but rather, words that are frequently misunderstood, and thus used incorrectly way more often than they should be. The goal of these posts is to help us all avoid such mistakes. Since I believe a humorous approach is often easier to remember, that’s my preferred method, so without further ado, here’s a misused phrase you’ve probably seen so many times, you may not even know it’s incorrect: baited breath.


Look familiar? Thought it might. But the truth is, one does not have β€œbaited breath” unless one has been eating worms or shiners. Honest!


The correct word in this case is “bated,” as in “abated,” which describes something that has ceased happening. Like breathing. In other words, the phrase “bated breath” means someone is holding his or her breath, whereas the phrase “baited breath” implies someone has very odd dining habits. πŸ˜€


The Serious Example:


TheΒ accused murdererΒ awaited the verdict with bated breath. (She was holding her breath).



The Silly Example:

The cat ate every shiner in the pail and ended up with baited breath.Β  (The cat now smells fishy.)



Short and sweet this week, I know, but I hope it helps sort out the difference between bated and baited for any of you confused by the phrase. And in general, I hope all of these quick little #WhyWriteWrong “lessons” are fun and useful, as well.



Ever been confused about this phrase, yourself? Did this post help clarify things a bit? Yes? No? Sorta? As always, inquiring minds wanna know.Β Β 


Thanks for visiting Story Empire today! Please stop by often to see what the rest of the gang will be talking about.Β  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, too, with something else up my sleeve. You’ve been warned! πŸ˜€ In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and stay well.

And now, let’s all head forth to write withΒ  happy hearts, since it’s universally known those are the very best kinds! πŸ˜€


I am not an English teacher, grammarian, or expert on all matters of this nature, but I promise I have consulted with those who are before posting anything in this series.

(All images above were created by me or obtained fromΒ Pixabay.)Β 

76 thoughts on “#WhyWriteWrong?

    • Thanks so much, Kathy! Glad you enjoyed it, and yep, you don’t want “baited breath” like that guy! πŸ˜€ Glad you stopped by and took a moment to comment. It’s very much appreciated! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was one I was familiar with, but there are so many of these tricky phrases/pairings that creep up it’s easy to forget. I really enjoy these posts, Marcia. I would have “liked” it, but for some reason WP is preventing me from doing that right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Mae, even if it was one you already knew. It’s one I see way more often than I should, and being used by writers who are so famous, you’d think they’d know better. Or their editors would, at least. But I just take notes of things that pop out at me, and will work them into future posts, in the hopes they’ll be helpful to others now and then.

      Sorry WP is acting up, but glad you stopped by and took a moment to comment, anyway. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • All you have to do is remember the cat with “baited” breath! πŸ˜€ I’m glad you’re enjoying this little series, Debby. It’s always fun for me to put them together, though some words really lend themselves to good jokes better than others. πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahahaha, this one got me. I can’t say I’ve ever used the phrase in writing, but I imagine I probably would’ve gone straight for BAITED. Then felt stupid. PSA received. You’ve done a good thing this day.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post! I may have used this verbally, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it in my writing. I’ll always have an image of a blackbird eating worm bait, and a cat with fishy breath now! πŸ™‚
    I have several pet ‘hates’ for words used incorrectly, ‘literally’ being one, and ‘reign’ being confused with ‘rein’ (as used incorrectly in ‘free reign’)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hywela! And reign is a great one. Rein/Reign is on my list for a future post, in fact. That one gets misused so often! Glad you enjoyed the worms and shiners, and the fishy-breathed cat, too. πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by today and taking time to weigh in on this one. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Yvette! So glad you enjoyed this one. I’m planning to do one each month, some longer, some shorter. And thanks for stopping by today and letting me know your thoughts. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m fond of a lot of old words and phrases, so I’ve used it many times, but it’s seeing it used wrong in print so often that bothers me. So many expressions out there (even ones that are really popular) are not being used correctly. If I can help prevent some of that, I’m happy to do it, and if I can make folks smile at the same time, I’m even happier.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Michele! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oooh, I’m so excited to hear that. Even though I try to improve with each book, my first one will always have a special place in my heart. I’ll be excited to read your review. THANKS! πŸ™‚ You made my evening! πŸ˜€

        NOTE: Couldn’t wait. Stopped by Amazon & saw it was already up. WOW! Thanks so much, Diana, for such a lovely review. I’ll be visiting your site when you post it there, too. Big Hugs!!!


    • You’re welcome, Jan, and I’m happy to hear this isn’t something you’ve misused before. Hope you enjoyed the post, anyway, and will be ready to see what I have for you next time.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and weighing in, and it does my heart good to know that many writers ARE familiar with the correct word for this phrase. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol, I’ve not seen ‘baited’ breath used anywhere but I’ll bet that’s just because I am used to working with educated writers. I can see how it would come about, considering some of the many (hilarious) incorrect spellings that occur these days – I will keep an eye out for it from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s more common than you’d imagine. I know of at least two really BIG name writers who have made this mistake in their books. (One of them did it more than one time, too.) You’d think someone would have caught it, even though it isn’t an everyday phrase for everyone. Now that I’ve put it in your mind, I’ll bet you’ll see it somewhere before long. πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to comment, Debby. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • We ALL do stuff wrong, but that’s all the more reason for each of us to keep trying to improve, right? And now that you know the correct usage, should you want to have one of your characters use the phrase, you’ll be all set. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not one everybody would use, but it’s been around a long time, and it pops up more often than you’d think. And yep, if you should ever need to use it (or someone asks you about it) you know the correct usage now. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, Robbie! πŸ™‚


    • See, now when you see it as “baited breath,” you can giggle and tell yourself you know better, even if you aren’t likely to use the phrase. πŸ˜€ And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it used wrong, myself. (At least twice in books by very well known authors, traditionally published, and no doubt edited, too. You’d think someone would have caught it.)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment, Judi! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the examples, Teri. And who knows? You just may find yourself with a character who would likely use the phrase, especially in a sarcastic manner. I can just see someone who knows a boring guest is coming to visit, and feigns excitement. “Mrs. Gabloudly? Oh, yeah. I await her visit with bated breath.” πŸ˜€

      And if nothing else, you can now snigger to yourself when you see it used incorrectly elsewhere. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by, Teri, and taking a moment to comment. Always great to see you! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed it, John. I love doing this silly (but hopefully, helpful) little series. This one was especially fun, as the incorrect version was a great one to find images for. And don’t you hate it when your helpful programs and apps think they know more than you do? Yeah, sure, they are usually right, but … not ALWAYS. πŸ˜€ I say smite it into submission now and then. It’ll make you feel better. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by this morning and taking a minute to comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Today, I’m the featured blogger on Story Empire, and I hope you’ll take a moment to drop by and check out my latest Why Write Wrong? post. It’s short and sweet, and will hopefully help other authors avoid making this particular mistake, so pass it along far and wide, if you would And be sure to say hello while you’re there.. Thanks! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always been a favorite expression of mine, Joan. I think I first read it back when I was around 12 or so and devouring all sorts authors from all eras. I definitely use it, though I’m not sure I’ve ever used in in one of my books. Hmmm. Might have to correct that. I can very clearly imagine a certain angel in The Emissary novellas using it. Oh, yeah. Going to squeeze it into the last chapter of my WIP, maybe even the last line. (You read it here first, folks.) πŸ˜€

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the post, Joan! πŸ™‚ Keep on laughing it’s good for what ails ye, as my grandmother would say.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I was thinking you might enjoy this one, and I’ll wager you’ve seen it before, too. Along with a whole lotta other similar mix-ups. And btw, I think worm breath could be put to use in some sort of Monty Pythonesque insult. (I distinctly remember one that ended with “…and your mother stank of elderberries.”) Worm breath would be even worse. πŸ˜€

      Glad the post gave you something to chuckle about today. dusts off hands My work here is done! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

    • Bare with me, huh? Not sure if that gives me shudders or revs up my heart rate! πŸ˜€ (At my age, I’ve forgotten what an invitation like that would be like. πŸ˜€ ) Seriously, I know what you mean. Bear/Bare is one of the pairs on my Why Write Wrong list. It might show up here one day. πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for stopping by today, Judith, and taking a moment to comment. (And give me a smile!) πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s been four for me, Judith. Since February 18!!!! And just as my doctor gave me permission last week to venture out (masked and limited to places being diligent about social distancing, etc), Florida’s cases of the Dread Virus started soaring. So now, I’m still not sure I even want to try. I promised Mark I’d go to the grocery story today, since he’s been doing all the shopping. (He only has age against him. I have three other medical factors making me higher risk). But I’m really having to work up my nerve to even consider it. I’ve developed a major case of agoraphobia over the weeks, so I really need to force myself, to do this. Yes, to the shuddering! And fretting. And wondering what’s next. Stay safe, my friend!! πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Trish. What a nice thing to say! So glad you enjoyed today’s post, and hope it gave you a chuckle or two. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment. (I was waiting with bated breath to see what you might think. πŸ˜€ ) ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve seen this in a popular blog recently – maybe the same post that prompted you to write this one.
    At first I thought it was a typo, until I got to the repeats.
    Only, once – maybe twice – it was spelled properly.
    It prompted me to wonder if blog posts were becoming as fluid as text messages (depending, I supppose, on why you’re writing) and maybe I’m being too anal about the million edits I do before I schedule my posts. And still find things wrong 😦 .

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve seen it more times than I can count, and in many, many books over the years. I admit that I hate when I see words used wrong, and even if it didn’t bother me much, it would still pull me out of the story. This is not to say I don’t make mistakes. Just that I try to learn from them, and I hope with this little series of Why Write Wrong posts, I can help other people avoid some of the more common ones, altogether. As for blog posts, I guess it depends on the goal of the blog, but I would think if the blogger is a writer, they would want to do the best job they can to avoid making folks wonder about their skill. Poorly written posts could cost them some readers, after all.

      And you are right that things will always get by us, but that’s why I believe in aiming high.

      Thanks for stopping by today, Cathy, and taking a minute to comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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