pour in vs. pour


Senior Member
A few days ago...I saw...'someone pours some cereal from the box into her bowl.'
And...today I also heard that...'She pours in some milk.'

What is the difference between pour in and pour?
What if I just say that 'I pour some milk.'
Is it wrong?

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'In' and 'into' have the same function here: showing where the milk goes. If she pours milk into the bowl, she's pouring milk in. (You can say just 'in' if the bowl has already been mentioned.) However, you could also say 'she poured some milk' without indicating where it goes. To me, this on its own suggests she poured it into a glass, but if you've already mentioned a bowl of cereal, then 'poured some milk' might be understood as pouring it into the cereal bowl. Compare: 'then she poured some orange juice', which would definitely mean into a glass. (But 'then she poured some orange juice in' suggests "into what has already been mentioned" - if you've mentioned a bowl but not a glass, it sounds like she poured orange juice over the cereal.)


    Senior Member
    English - US
    That sentence jarred with me. I'd say 'shook' or 'tipped the cereal from the box' and save pours for liquids.
    A BE/AE difference. In the US, using "shook" would make it sound like the cereal was stuck in the box. We can tip the box, but not the cereal (tipping something would involve making it not upright - cereal doesn't have a "right-side up" position). We can pour anything that is in small enough pieces so that it flows like a liquid (Morton's Salt - When it rains, it pours.).


    Senior Member
    English, AE
    Interesting. I never considered pour as restricted to liquids. You can pour money into a project. Smoke pours out of chimneys, and one can pour out their feelings, and pour salt into a wound.
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