“Poring” vs. “Pouring”: What’s the Difference?

06 Sep 2010


This question came up during a round of in-house editing this week, so – of course –I wanted to share:

Complete this sentence:  I spent hours  _______ over the pages of the magazine.

A.)   poring

B.)   pouring

The correct answer is A, “poring.”

“Pore” means to study or read something with great care.  You’d pore over a textbook or a website; you could even pore over the details of an especially interesting dream you had the night before.

“Pour” on the other hand, is something you do with a liquid.  It’s the word for what you do with, say, a bottle of water or a pot of coffee.

So, you might say:  “I poured myself another cup of coffee and pored through the newspaper’s horoscope section, hoping for good news and lucky lotto numbers.”

Well, you might not say that, exactly.  But you get the idea.

Have any other frequently confused words?  Let us know!

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2 thoughts on ““Poring” vs. “Pouring”: What’s the Difference?

  1. My question, but I’m pretty sure of the answer: When you strongly agree with what’s been said, you might say “Hear, hear!” and not “here, here!” — is that correct?

    1. That is correct! “Hear hear!” is an abbreviation for “hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!”

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