Words Students Confuse: Bail and Bale

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
Bail and Bale sound the same but have very different meanings.

"To bail" means to remove, for example with a bucket. 'He bailed out the boat when it had a hole." To "bail out of" means to leave or quit: "She bailed out of the project when it became too time-consuming." You can pay money when someone is arrested, and "bail him or her out of jail".

"To bale" means to wrap up, to make a square (or rectangle) of something. "In the fall, the farmers baled their hay to have feed for their animals for the winter." 

One area which is often confused is when leaving an airplane. The accepted usage is "to bail out", using the meaning "to leave". Some people use "to bale out", thinking of the parachutes as "bales", like bales of hay. This is less common and less accepted.

Be careful how you use the words "bail" and "bale" in your exam writing!
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