Awe, Or, Oar, and Ore

What Are the Differences between "Awe," "Or," "Oar," and "Ore"?

homeconfused wordsAwe, Or, Oar, and Ore
the quick answer

The Quick Answer

  • Awe means astonishment.
  • Or is a conjunction used to offer an alternative.
  • Oar is a tool used to propel a boat through water.
  • Ore is a mineral from which metal can be extracted.

Awe, Or, Oar, and Ore

Awe, or, oar, and ore sound identical, but their meanings are very different; i.e., they are not homonyms.


The noun awe means wonderment, astonishment, or dread. (The word awe can also be used as a verb.)

  • The employee was stuck with awe when his boss fired him.
  • He was filled with awe after seeing the breath-taking views of the Grand Canyon.
  • The students were awed by their new professor.
  • (This is an example of awe being used as a verb.)


The conjunction or is used to offer an alternative or a replacement.

  • Would you like cake or ice cream?
  • Complete your homework on time, or you'll fail the class.


The noun oar is a tool used to move a boat through water.

  • Most Viking ships were powered by oars.
  • Warships had several oarsmen per oar because they were so long.


The noun ore is used to describe a mineral from which metal can be extracted.

  • In 2005, China was the top importer of ores and metals ahead of the USA and Japan.
  • It is only worth extracting the ore if the metal is in a high enough concentration.

A Quick Test

hot grammar tip

Hot Tip

Ways to Remember Awe and Oar

The word awe is the root of the word awesome.

The word oar has the same vowels as the word boat.

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