Pour, Pore, or Poor?

What Is the Difference between "Pour," "Pore," and "Poor"?

homeconfused wordsPour, Pore, or Poor?
the quick answer

The Quick Answer

To pour means to tip a liquid out a container.
To pore means to examine closely. A pore is small opening in the skin.
Poor usually means impoverished or inadequate.

The words pour, pore, and poor sound similar, but their meanings are very different.


The verb to pour means to transfer a liquid from a container (usually by tipping).

  • Shall I pour the gravy?
  • Pour the molten steel onto a rotating drum that is cooled by water.


The word pore has two unrelated meanings:

To examine closely.
  • He pored through the documents for hours looking for a loop hole.
  • I need to pore over these files before tomorrow.
  • In this meaning, pore is a verb. Note: You can pore over something or pore through something.
A small opening in the skin.
  • The dust clogs your pores.
  • The sweat was leaking out of my pores.
  • In this meaning, pore is a noun.


The adjective poor means impoverished (i.e., having little money or few possessions), or low quality (e.g., poor crop) or unfortunate (e.g., That poor cat).

  • As poor as a church mouse.
  • I am feeling quite poor this month.
  • Religion keeps the poor man from murdering the rich.
  • Poor show.
  • Will you take that poor animal to the vets?

A Quick Test

hot grammar tip

Hot Tip


The word poor does not usually cause grammar mistakes; however, there is often confusion over pour and pore.

If you remember that pour out soup contains three sets of the letters ou, it will help you remember the meaning of pour, which only has one meaning. Therefore, everything else must be pore.

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