Words at Play : Top 10 Commonly Confused Words, Vol. 1

#7: Pore/Pour

Question:

When you're attentively studying, are you poring over or pouring over the materials?

Answer:

poring

How to Remember It:

One reason this word trips us up is that both pour and pore are often followed by over.

But in this case it probably helps to think literally. When we're intently studying something, nothing is actually pouring (i.e., flowing, leaking) onto the object of study; in fact, if something did pour onto what you're poring over, your task would be far more difficult. The less familiar verb pore is correct.

(Pore actually has the same root as pour, but of course that only adds to the confusion.)

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