Pore or pour?

‘Pore’ or ‘pour’? Which one should you use when? Donald Trump recently confused these two words - and he’s not alone. Here’s how to tell the difference. Pour is always associated with streaming or flowing liquids, as in:

I poured myself a cup of tea.


The water was pouring all over the floor.


It’s pouring down outside.

So if you’re referring to something liquid, use pour.

But if you’re not, use pore. This word means ‘to be absorbed in reading something closely’.

As in:

The professor sat in the library poring over the ancient manuscript.

In other words, she was reading it intently.

If she poured over it with a u, the librarian would not be happy with her!

One way to remember the correct spelling of this pore is to associate it with similarly spelt things you might read closely.

For example, maybe our manuscript contained ancient knowledge. In which case our professor might have been poring over lore. Or even some core principles.

Or maybe you’d prefer to devour a horror novel - in which case you might pore over gore.

Although, of course, the gore itself might - metaphorically - pour all over the page!

So remember. Don’t do a Donald - and always observe the distinction between pour and pore.