Easily Confused Words: Sore vs. Soar

This Easily Confused Word pair was suggested to me by Liam Haddock, who is teaching and traveling his way around the world (awesome!). Check out his blog here

Sore and soar are easily confused words. When using word processing software or texting apps, it’s tempting to think spell-check or autocorrect will save us from our typos. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Spell-check merely scans a document looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary. If it’s a word in its dictionary and it’s spelled correctly, spell-check keeps moving. Auto-correct merely tries to anticipate what you’re typing, and its suggestions are based on letter sequences, not meaning or context.

Sore is an adjective. It describes something causing pain and discomfort. This can be a physical wound, or in more figurative speech, like a memory of something bad occurring that still emotionally stings a little, a.k.a. “a sore subject.”

Sore can also be a noun, as in, a sore on your skin, like a welt, blister, blemish, bug bite, or other painful infection.

Soar is a verb. It means to flies through the air, rising higher and higher in the sky. In the financial world, stocks or profits are described as “soaring” when they succeed; this means they are increasing in value at a rapid rate.

The following story uses both words correctly:

For Stanley, stocks were a sore subject. He found them fascinating, but the investments he chose rarely soared in value. Quite the opposite, actually.

Thanks again, Liam, and happy trails!


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