The verb "bury" describes the act of covering something. You can bury something in the ground. You can bury a person in a grave. You can be buried by paperwork or homework.

  • The little boy buried his toes in the sand.
  • We plan to bury our cat in the backyard when he dies.
  • The gas line is buried in the front yard.
  • Treasure hunters found some gold that was buried over 200 years ago.

buried in sand His friends buried him in the sand. They’ll dig him out later.

The word "bury" is often used figuratively. This means that the situation is not real or actual–it’s metaphorical:

  • Joan is buried in paperwork today.
  • She buried her face in her hands to hide her embarrassment.
  • They’re buried in debt. (They have too many bills to pay.)
  • Only Jacob knows where the skeletons are buried. (This is kind of an expression that refers to the knowledge of deep, dark secrets.)

Notice that the word "bury" sounds exactly like "berry" or the name of a man, "Barry." The "u-r" is pronounced like "air."

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(This page was originally published on LearnAmericanEnglishOnline.com on November 25, 2011)