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Pole and Poll

Commonly Confused Words

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The noun pole refers to a long staff (for example, "fiberglass pole" or "totem pole") or to either extremity of an axis of a sphere ("North Pole"). The noun poll most often refers to the casting of votes in an election or a survey of public opinion. Likewise, the verb poll means to record votes or to ask questions in a survey.

Examples:

  • The telephone line that runs across the lake is suspended by buoys rather than poles.

  • No one runs for public office today without relying on opinion polls.
  • Practice:

    (a) The window cleaner used a brush attached to a 30-foot-long aluminum _____.

    (b) A public-opinion _____ is no substitute for thought. (Warren Buffett)

    Answers to Practice Exercises

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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