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Bolder vs. Boulder (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bolder vs. boulder on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Regular readers of Grammar Rules know I love homophones. Two frequently used words that share the same pronunciation are bolder and boulder. One is a giant rock, the other is an adjective that means to be braver or more striking.

(Grammar rules for writers.)

So let's look at when to use bolder and boulder.

Bolder vs. Boulder (Grammar Rules)

Bolder vs. Boulder

Bolder is a comparative adjective that means more bold. Bold is an adjective with a few meanings: displaying risk-taking ability or bravery; having a vivid or striking visual appearance. So a bolder person may take risks or push the limit with their behavior, while a bolder outfit may combine several bright and/or contrasting colors.

(Taking Risks in Poetry.)

Boulder, on the other hand, is a very big rock. Or it may also refer to a city in Colorado.

Make sense?

Here are a couple examples:

Correct: He is bolder than the shy boy I remember from elementary school.
Incorrect: He is boulder than the shy boy I remember from elementary school.

Correct: She hiked out to the boulder and climbed it.
Incorrect: She hiked out to the bolder and climbed it.

A bolder person may try to move a boulder, but a boulder person is one who likes to climb big rocks (or who lives in Boulder, Colorado). So how I keep these straight: bolder is "bold + er," meaning boulder is the big rock.

*****

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

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