B

bachelor’s [degree]

Takes apostrophe-s and is not capitalised.

back end, back-end

Two separate words as a noun; hyphenated as an adjective. Your back-end database is at the back end.

back up, backup

One word when used as a noun or adjective; two words as a verb. When you back up your data, you make a backup.

baseline

One word.

between

It’s between… and – not between… to, nor between… or.

The following sentences are incorrect:

  • Delegates can arrive at any time between 9:00am to 10:00am.
    Make it between… and or from… to.
  • You have a choice between cheese or dessert.
    Make if of… or or between… and.

bible, Bible

Not capitalised when used in an everyday sense such as “the fashion industry bible”. Capital B for the Holy Bible or if it’s the name of a publication.

biblical

Not capitalised.

billion

1,000 million.

blond, blonde

You can’t have blonde hair. Hair can only be blond. The feminine form blonde is a noun or adjective describing a woman or girl whose hair is blond.

born, borne

Born and borne are both past participles of the verb bear and they’re easy to muddle.

  • Born refers to bearing in the sense of giving birth, literally or metaphorically. So you could say “I was born in London” or you could say that something was “born of necessity”.
  • Borne usually refers to  bearing in the sense of carrying, literally or metaphorically. So you can have “airborne contaminants” for example. Or if you think someone’s going to make a good job of something and then it turns out they do make a good job of it, you might say that your confidence in them was “borne out” by their performance.

People sometimes write “borne out of” or “borne of” incorrectly when they really mean “born (out) of”, For example, “The shift to remote working is borne out of Covid restrictions.” Here it’s not borne. It’s born.

breakpoint

In the context of responsive web design – one word.

buyback

Noun: buyback; verb: buy back.

buyout

Noun: buyout; verb: buy out.