Pore or pour?

23 Mar

Another pair of words that sound the same but don’t mean the same, and that get mixed up more times than I’d care to mention. Read on to find out how to differentiate between pore and pour.

First off, the more uncommon one. To pore (over) something is to be absorbed in the reading of it. “She was so busy poring over the article on semiotics that she missed her stop on the Tube”. A pore is also a minute opening in the skin (etc.) through which liquids and gases can pass. But I don’t think that’s the usage that gets mixed up with this pair.

To pour (over, out, etc.) is to flow or cause to flow in a steady stream. “Water poured down the wall as the shower leaked from above”; “she poured herself a cup of tea”.

Short but sweet. The same sound, but different spellings, meanings and, well, words.

“As she pored over the ancient manuscripts, it began to pour with rain”.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Tags: , , ,

4 responses to “Pore or pour?

  1. Frank

    September 23, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Hi and thank you for the effort that you’ve put into this site. My biggest ‘gripe’ is with so-called journalists who bombard us with mis-spellings and bad grammar in the media. I just read an article about the Bermuda Triangle, where the writer mentioned that ‘… many people had poured over all the evidence for many years…’.

    Finding your site answered my question, that ‘poured’ should have been ‘pored’. I’m a great lover of the English language and, although nowhere near perfect, I still try to make an effort to write correctly whenever possible. Thank you again.


    • Liz at Libro

      September 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Thanks for your comment, Frank, and glad I was able to help you. Maybe the sea in the Bermuda Triangle got into their minds and created the use of “poured”!


      • Frank

        September 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

        Hi Liz and thanks for the reply. I hate being too negative, but I just can’t help but think that ‘their minds’ could have so much empty space in there, that there would be more than enough room for the Bermuda Triangle.


        • Liz at Libro

          September 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

          Well, we all make mistakes: I try to be tolerant of errors because I work with a lot of people whose English isn’t their first language (although they tend to make different errors than people whose first language IS English), and people who use voice recognition software etc. It’s a shame that whoever edited it didn’t pick it up, though!



I love hearing from my readers - do please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: