The world's premier FREE website for learners and teachers of English. Est'd 1997

bought OR brought?

The words bought and brought have very different meanings, but they are often confused—even by native English speakers.

First of all, they are both verbs. (They are both irregular verbs.) And they are both in past tense (V2) and past participle (V3) form.

Remember this?

  • buy, bought, bought
  • bring, brought, brought

bought

As you see, bought is the past tense and past participle of the verb buy—meaning to get something in exchange for money.

We use bought with the past simple tense and with present perfect and past perfect tenses. Here are some example sentences:

  • When did you buy your house? We bought it last year. (Past Tense)
  • Have you bought a new TV yet? (Present Perfect)
  • I'd already bought a Sony when Mary said she preferred Samsung. (Past Perfect)

brought

And brought is the past tense and past participle of the verb bring—meaning to take or go with something or someone to a place.

We use brought with the past simple tense and with present perfect and past perfect tenses. Here are some example sentences:

  • I didn't bring the dog but I brought my children with me. (Past Tense)
  • Can you lend me $5? I haven't brought any money. (Present Perfect)
  • If I had brought my glasses I could have helped you with your homework. But I left them at home. (Past Perfect)

How to remember the difference

It's really very simple. Just remember the R!

  • bring → brought
  • buy → bought

Mini Quiz

Check your understanding of bought versus brought with this quick quiz.

1. I _______ some flowers for your mother for $25. I hope she'll like them.

bought
brought
a) bought b) brought

2. The USA _______ Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million.

bought
brought
a) bought b) brought

3. How many friends have you _______ with you?

bought
brought
a) bought b) brought

Your score is:

Correct answers: