Flow of knowledge: Pore vs. pour

Blame a little used and almost lost meaning of pore for the confusion between these two words.

pore is a small opening, such as a skin’s pores. That makes it a noun. Pour means for something to flow rapidly and often continually, as in Pour me a glass of milk, please.

Usually the confusion regarding these two words occurs in the verb phrases pore over and pour over. Since pore typically is a noun, pour would appear to be the correct choice when writing a sentence such as He pored over the readout.

Pore, however, can be a verb meaning to meditate on. This verb is rarely used in modern times, but it is the source of the phrase pore over meaning to study closely.

Pour over only means to allow something to flow over another item, such as He poured milk over his cereal.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.