Which conjugation for the verb "born" is correct? "Born" or "be born"? I mean:

-One baby borns every day all around the world. // One baby is born every day all around the world.

-I born the first of September,1999// I am born the first of September,1999

-Good ideas born from those who expect patiently.// Good ideas are born from those who expect patiently.

Which one is correct? the first one("born") or the second one("be born")?

  • 1
    To be born as in to come into existence through birth. The verb is to be born for people and ideas. It is always passive in that sense. A baby is born every ten seconds in some [place].
    – Lambie
    Apr 10, 2017 at 23:13
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure that a lot more than "a" baby is born each day...and you were born not "am"... it happened in the past.
    – Catija
    Apr 10, 2017 at 23:23
  • When I write " I am born"- I know that it sounds like a passive voice speech but I have read that conjugation in an indicative present tense- i mean to specific situation like somebody reading their own auto-biographies. That's the point. That's why that is difficult to be understood by a non-native English speaker. Apr 10, 2017 at 23:32
  • 1
    The only time "I am born" would be acceptable is in a diary-like present day recounting of history... "I am born the first of September, 1999. At five I start school and at 18 I meet the love of my life"... but this is pretty unusual storytelling.
    – Catija
    Apr 11, 2017 at 0:02
  • 1
    See this excellent answer by John Lawler on ELU. Apr 11, 2017 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


"Born" is in origin the same word as the past participle "borne" of the verb "to bear".

"To bear" is now a rather literary word for "carry"*, and in has past "bore" and "past participle "borne":

The servants bore the dish into the hall.

The dish was borne into the hall by the servants.

A specialised meaning of "to bear" is "to have a child" - this is also somewhat literary:

She bore a child.

She has borne a child.

But the form "born", though originally the same word as "borne", is now the ordinary (colloquial as well as literary) word for what a baby does; but it exists only in the passive:

He was born in 1966.

A son was born to her then.

*There are some other specialised meanings of "to bear" which are in everyday use: 1) in the sense of "to stand, to put up with", especially in the negative "I can't bear your shouting!" 2) in the idiom "bear the brunt of", meaning "receive the largest part of something unpleasant or unwelcome": "He bore the brunt of their criticism". These still have past participle "borne".


In contemporary English BE born, although invariably passive in form (I born is impossible), is semantically active. It is never accompanied with an agent by phrase, and if the mother is mentioned, she is designated with a to phrase.

A child was born to the Queen this morning, not
A child was born by the Queen this morning.

John Lawler suggests that we treat BE born as a 'deponent' verb. In fact, BE born is wholly divorced from its origin in the transitive verb bear : bear in obstetrical contexts refers to the entire process of gestation and delivery, but BE born is understood not as the state resulting from that process but as an inchoative event which the subject (the baby) experiences: the entry into a state at a particular moment.

Consequently you almost never see BE born with BE in the present or present perfect construction, except in old or archaicizing texts. It's ordinarily cast in the past or past perfect.

I was born the first of September,1999, not
I am born the first of September,1999

Occasionally you see it in the progressive construction, recategorizing the event as the culmination of the process of labor, and this accepts the present tense (The Smiths' son is being born right now at Mercy Hospital); but even here it is understood as something which is happening to the baby, not something being performed by the mother.

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