Writing Tip ~ Pour/Pore/Poor and Plain/Plane

More simple words that are often confused when writing our family histories – pour/pore/poor and plain/plane.

Writing confusing words

The cowPour/pore/poor

To pour something, is to empty liquid from one container to another – as in, “Grandpa’s farm girl once tried to pour milk from the bucket into Grandpa’s mug, but she was short-sighted and missed the mug. The left-over milk in Grandpa’s boots didn’t smell good after a while.”

Pore used as a noun, is an opening in the skin or in plant leaves – as in, “Mother said the day was so hot that the pores on Grandpa’s nose grew large and shiny.” Pore as a verb means to examine something – as in “I pored over the tiny writing on the old certificates, trying to read Great-grandmother’s last name.”

When a person is poor, they don’t have enough money – as in, “Great-grandfather Potts had twelve children, and they were so poor that he couldn’t afford shoes for them all.”


The word plain can either mean ordinary, or it can mean a flat stretch of land – as in, “Great-grandfather Potts’ second child, Elspeth, was a kind, plain-looking girl who married a farmer from the Canadian Plains.”

A plane is a tool used to smooth wood – as in, “Great-grandfather Potts’ third boy, Mahonri, was a gifted carpenter. When he worked with wood, it looked like the plane was gliding over butter.”


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