Poor, Pore, and Pour

Commonly Confused Words

Midsection Of Waiter Pouring Wine In Glass At Restaurant
Struggling with homophones? Poor you! Pour yourself a glass of wine and pore over this explanation. Tanes Jitsawart / EyeEm / Getty Images

The words poor, pore, and pour are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

Definitions

The adjective poor means needy, impoverished, inadequate, or inferior.

As a noun, pore means a small opening, especially in an animal or plant. The verb pore means to read or study carefully.

The verb pour means to dispense a drink or other substance.

Examples

  • Abby planted yuccas in her garden because nothing else would grow in the poor soil.​
  • The carbon dioxide storage method injects the gas into the microscopic pores of reservoir sediments 800 meters underground.​
  • Merdine pored over the rules, searching for a loophole.​
  • "Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Practice Exercises

(a) "____ down your warmth, great sun!" (Walt Whitman)

(b) My doctor encouraged me to ____ over the small print on the medicine label.

(c) Some types of make-up can block _____ and cause spots.

(d) A rich person who needed a kidney could buy one, but a _____ person could not.

Answers to Practice Exercises

(a) "Pour down your warmth, great sun!" (Walt Whitman)

(b) My doctor encouraged me to pore over the small print on the medicine label.

(c) Some types of make-up can block pores and cause spots.

(d) A rich person who needed a kidney could buy one, but a poor person could not.