Why Editors Are Glad Election Day Is Over

by Michelle Hutchinson

Pole-dancing squirrel

Pole-dancing squirrel courtesy of Jim Christian, http://ow.ly/f73NV

Every four years, we vote for president.

Every four years, we compare how long we have to wait on line to vote.

Every four years, we see people mistake the word poles for polls, so with Election Day now behind us, I thought this would be a good time to review the difference between those two words.

As a noun, a pole is a long, cylindrical, often slender piece of wood or metal: The strong, persistent wind knocked the telephone pole to the ground.

As a verb, pole means to use a pole to push, strike, or move forward: The boy poled his raft across the lake.

In contrast, as a noun, poll has two common meanings.

1. When used to mean the place where you can cast your ballot, it usually has an s at the end: To exercise my right to vote, I went to the polls on Election Day.

2. Poll, as a noun, can also mean a sampling of opinions: The teacher took a poll to find out her students’ favorite book.

Poll can also be a verb meaning to gather a sampling of opinions: The teacher polled her students to find out their favorite book.

With a 12+-hour shift ahead of them, I certainly wouldn’t want to be one of the people working the polls on Election Day. But if you’d ever seen me dance, you’d know why I think working the poles would be a lot worse. ;-)

Facebook post showing misuse of the word 'poles'

This misuse of the word ‘poles’ is very common on Election Day.

Thank goodness Election Day is behind us.

What is your pet peeve when it comes to spelling?

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