Sore vs. Soar – What’s the Difference?

Sore and soar are homophones. Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Like many homophones, sore and soar are actually different parts of speech, so they can never be substituted for one another. Continue reading to see the instances when each word is appropriate.

What is the Difference Between Sore and Soar?

In this post, I will compare soar vs. sore, and I use each word in several example sentences.

You will be able to see how they appear in context, and I will also outline a mnemonic device that makes choosing soar or sore for your own writing much easier.

When to Use Sore

sore versus soarWhat does sore mean? Sore can be an adjective or a noun.

As an adjective, sore means painful, usually as a result of strenuous work. It can also mean upset or bitter in a more figurative way, like if a person is a sore loser.

For example,

  • My legs are sore from the backpacking trip I went on with my friends.
  • Jenny must be a sore loser, because every time her team loses she throws a temper tantrum.
  • The widow and children of a man who went to a rural Hawaii health center with a sore throat in 2013 and ended up dead will receive a $4.2 million settlement from the federal government, the widow’s lawyer said Wednesday. –CBS News

Sore can also be a noun. A sore is a lesion or swollen, inflamed area on the skin. Sores could be the result of disease, overexposure to sunlight or other elements, insect bites, or several other causes. They can be painful, unsightly, or both.

  • Eddie howled in pain when Barry poured alcohol on his open sores.
  • Claudia warned Gary not to kiss her because she had a sore in her mouth, but he did it anyway.

Sore is singular. Its plural is sores.

When to Use Soar

definition of sore definition of soar definitionWhat does soar mean? Soar is a verb. It means to fly high in the sky. A majestic eagle might soar above the forest, or a jetliner might soar through the lower atmosphere on its way to a destination.

Figuratively speaking, a metaphor might soar over the heads of an audience, or a person’s spirits might soar upon hearing good news.

Here are a few more examples,

  • Kyle Schwarber’s home run soared over the bleachers and into the street.
  • The song’s soaring melody sounded joyful and optimistic.
  • In the name of campaign finance reform and “honest government,” he managed to slice through the world’s best-protected airspace no more molested than the birds who wheel and soar in the breeze. –The Washington Post

Soar is a regular verb, so its conjugation is fairly straightforward.

Conjugation of Soar:

  • I/we soar: first person singular/plural present
  • You soar: second person singular/plural present
  • He/she/it soars: third person singular present
  • They soar: third person plural present
  • Soaring: present participle
  • Soared: simple past

Trick to Remember the Difference

define sore define soarWhether you use soar or sore depends on the part of speech you need.

  • Sore is an adjective and a noun.
  • Soar is a verb.

Let’s go over a self-check that you can use to remember sore vs. soar. Since sore and sorry are both adjectives and both begin with the same three letters, you can link these words together to remember that sore is an adjective. You also might be sorry that you lifted too much weight at the gym, and now your body is sore.

Summary

Is it sore or soar? Soar and sore are homophones.

  • Sore means painful or angry as an adjective and a skin lesion as a noun.
  • Soar means to fly high in the sky.

They are never interchangeable, so it is important to remember the difference between them.