Things You Probably Know…

or maybe not.

1.  She waited with baited/bated breath.  Which is correct?  Bated breath is correct.  It’s a shortening of the word “abated”, and means held back.  So if you have bated breath, you are scarcely breathing due to awe or anticipation.

2.  The snake shed its/it’s skin.  Which is correct?  Its skin is correct.  If you use “it’s” in a sentence (with the apostrophe), you have to be able to replace the “it’s” with “it is” and still have the sentence make sense.  “Its” is already possessive and doesn’t need the apostrophe.

I’m going to be an annoying person and post things like this from time to time.  Hope you don’t mind too much!




4 thoughts on “Things You Probably Know…”

  1. Actually, depending on whether she brushed her teeth, it might smell like she waited with “baited” breath!!
    Thank you for explaining the difference. I never thought about the origins of the phrase.

    Deb from

  2. In a book that I was just reading a character was referring to the military and their right to “bare” arms. Makes me wonder if it was editing or the author but I stifled a scream.

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