Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Usage tip double dip: poll/pole and roll/role

So, after a long-ish hiatus due to factors beyond my control, I have returned. And what better way to return from hiatus than with a double dose of homophones?

A poll is a survey, typically used to assess people's opinions. A pole is a long, thin, generally cylindrical, typically vertical object. (Unless you capitalize it; a Pole is a person from Poland.)

We took a pole to decide what kind of food to have at the company picnic.
I always walk into that poll in the basement.

A recent poll shows that most people are sick of taking polls.
Our garage's roof was unstable, so we put a pole in to hold it up.

A roll is a small, typically single-serving-size piece of bread; it can also refer to an object in the shape of a small cylinder. The word roll can also be a verb, meaning to move via rotation or (typically combined with up) to fold a flat object to form a cylinder. A role is the part an actor plays, or the function of a component of a system.

I love coming to this restaurant; they make the best dinner roles.
He made cabbage roles for dinner.
I used to love to role down the hill when I was a kid.
Make sure to role the dough evenly, or your cinnamon roles will look strange.
The actor playing the leading roll was not very good.
No one is quite sure what the roll of the senior vice president is, other than to look good on television.

Please make sure to pick up some grinder rolls at the grocery store.
Pass me that roll of parchment, would you?
If your emergency brake is broken, your car may roll away.
I had so many posters that, when I rolled them up, the roll was two inches thick!
Do you know who had the leading role in that movie?
My role is primarily that of a troubleshooter.

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