It’s Poring, not Pouring.

Have you seen this?

Here and there, in the newspapers, advertisements, books, yes–in student papers–but even in publications from those folk who should know better, I find the expression, “As I was pouring over this idea,” or “I poured over his book,” or some whatnot . . . .

World, let’s not let the vulgar tongue take us down that trail!  One “pores” over something of interest such as a book; one does not “pour.”  The infinitives are, respectively, “to pore” as opposed to “to pour.”

There!  Now wasn’t that snippy of me?  Now, the interesting and instructive thing about these forms is that they both appear to come from the same Middle English “pouren,’ but somehow their spelling reflects a history of either transitive or intransitive usage.  Or they may be considered to have nothing to do with one another.  There is at least one instance of “pore” being used for “pour” in Chaucer.

2 Replies to “It’s Poring, not Pouring.”

  1. Yes, I have noticed this downturn in our language as well, even in some “formal” essays that people are writing for classes at ETBU (not throwing out any names), and it really is quite saddening. The words your and you’re are especially frustrating to me because people seem to think that they are interchangeable, when in fact they are not (shocking, I know).

    I remember seeing a movie called “Idiocracy” that was a commentary of sorts on what could be called the dumbing down of the American society or mankind in general. Don’t see it, it is a mediocrity in and of itself although it does have an interesting idea behind it.

    1. Whoops! Too late . . . but I did think Idiocracy was an outrageous satire, easy to discount, frightening in its basic premise that our society is hopelessly clueless, and so the film is “over the top.”

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