Bated Breath vs Baited Curiosity

Not really a full post, but just a quick note on a finer point of English grammar - bated breath, vs baited curiosity.

It's a common stumbling point - almost as many people now get 'bated breath' wrong as get it right, at a roughly 60-40 split according to Google search results. But rest assured, 'bated' is the correct spelling.

In the case of 'bated breath', you're talking about anticipation - being on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, waiting for something to happen. And it's that derivation that leads to the correct spelling.

'Bated' breath is literally breath that has abated - or stopped - due to anticipation. It's not 'baited' in the sense of being excited or encouraged by the anticipation.

In contrast, 'baited' curiosity is interest piqued by the upcoming event or by a desire to know more. In this sense, 'bated' curiosity would be a contradiction, implying that your interest has ceased due to your desire to know more.

Look out for it in your web copy, particularly if you outsource your content writing overseas or to more 'affordable' writers. It's the job of legitimate copywriters to know these finer points inside out - and to avoid the pitfalls in our writing.

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