Pouring over books

21 Mar
Why is it that people have so much trouble with the word "pore"?  For the record, people, here is the definition of the word:
Main Entry: 1pore
Pronunciation: 'por
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): pored; por·ing
Etymology: Middle English pouren
1 : to gaze intently
2 : to read or study attentively — usually used with over
3 : to reflect or meditate steadily
Lately I have come across a startling number of people who have written "pour" instead.  As in, "If you are always pouring over recipes" (then they’ll get damp!), or "it’s time-consuming to pour over these records" (it’s probably not good for them, anyway . . . and what the heck are you pouring on them?!).
Here is a definition of the word "pour":
Main Entry: 1pour
Pronunciation: 'por
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English
transitive verb
1 a : to cause to flow in a stream b : to dispense from a container <poured drinks for everyone>
2 : to supply or produce freely or copiously <poured money into the project>
3 : to give full expression to : VENT <poured out his feelings>
intransitive verb
1 : to move with a continuous flow
2 : to rain hard
3 : to move or come continuously : STREAM <complaints poured in>
4 : to score easily or freely (as in basketball) — used with in <poured in 30 points>
Strangely, the Merriam-Webster dictionary shows that both word have the same pronunciation (which, I suppose, is why so many people get the spelling wrong) but I don’t think they sound the same at all.  "Pour" to me sounds like "poor", with an "ooh" sound in it, whereas "pore" sounds more like the short vowel sound you get in "spore" or "lore"… more of an "aww", really, although not quite. 
But pronunciation is such a tricky thing.  According to dooce, for example, the proper way to pronounce the word "crayon" is "crown".  (But I believe she grew up in Tennessee.)

10 Responses to “Pouring over books”

  1. Peter March 21, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    THANK YOU!!!! I\’ve done some previous work on the loose/lose phenomenon, where people mean "lose" but use "loose", e.g. "I am loosing control of my bladder." (Which sounds suspiciously *purposeful*, like "loosing the hounds," if you ask me.)
    Next could you write on role vs. roll? Like, someone says: "I\’m on a role." And I\’m like, "Does that mean you\’ve won the audition, or you think you\’re on a streak?" Mercy.

  2. Fawn March 22, 2007 at 8:52 am #

    Before I do that, I will first have to admit that lately I\’ve been having issues with apostrophes.  Like I just noticed that in one of my previous postings I wrote that I had a chance to "talk to the athlete\’s".  What the…?!  Seeing as the random/incorrect/sloppy use of apostrophes is one of my pet peeves, what gives?  I think I have to lay the blame on overwork (a common phenomenon among nurses).

  3. Nemmy March 23, 2007 at 7:20 am #

    Personally, I think I pronounce "pour" "pore" half the time, depending on the context. Like "route" as "root" or "r-ow-te." My personal favourite is still seeing "off-putting" written as "off-pudding." Heehee.

  4. Fawn March 23, 2007 at 11:34 am #

    Off-pudding!  *shriek!* Too funny.  You\’re right about "pour", though.  I was thinking about it later and I think I do pronounce it both ways. 
    But I never  say "r-ow-te".  *shudder*

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