Make Your Editor Cry: Advice vs. Advise

Make Your Editor Cry:  Advice vs. Advise

Besides pronunciation, the main difference between advice with a C and advise with an S is that “advise” is a verb meaning to offer an opinion or a recommendation, or to provide information to someone. The noun “advice” is the information, opinion, or recommendation offered. In this article, I hope to advise you about the difference between these two words and you should take this advice to heart.

TIP: Alphabetically, the letter N as in Noun comes before V as in Verb. The letter C as in the noun Advice comes before the letter S as in the verb Advise.

When spoken the S of advise sounds like a Z. The C of advice sounds like S. They have different meanings and are different parts of speech, but there is a relationship between their usage. There’s also just one letter of difference between their spelling and “advice” and “advise” are nearly homophones, so it’s easy to see how they are often confused and using the wrong one in your writing can be a common mistake.

In other words, to advise means to give advice.

When someone gives you a suggestion about what you should (or should not) do, that’s advice. In this sense, it is an uncountable noun meaning you can’t have “an advice” or “many advices”. You’ll often see advice after the word “some” or a possessive pronoun like “my” and occasionally you’ll see expressions that divide advice into units of measurement that can be pluralized, such as “pieces of advice” or “words of advice.”

Advise is a verb, therefore, you will find it with the subject of the sentence performing the action of advising. The action (verb) of offering advice is “to advise” or advising. Guidance, counsel, and direction are synonyms of advice. A person who gives advice formally or on a regular basis can be called an adviser or an advisor.

Sidebar: It doesn’t matter what your computer’s spellchecker tells you, adviser and advisor are both correct. They are just different ways to spell the exact same word. Some people feel that advisor with an O is more formal than adviser with an E, and it tends to be found more often when applied to official positions, such as an “advisor to the president” or whatever. Now back to the article.

When the issue of advice vs. advise comes up a quick and easy tip to remember is that to advise means to give advice. Advise is what you do when you offer information or an opinion. Advice is the information or opinion that you give or receive. If you can give guidance, advise someone on the matter. If you need guidance, ask someone for advice on a matter.

Examples:

Advice:

It is best to get legal advice from a lawyer before you take any legal action.
Please advise her to stop smoking because she refuses take my advice.
This blog gives good advice for first-time home buyers.
My track adviser gave me good advice about how I should further my education after high school.
He bought the house based on his real estate manager’s advice.

Advise:

My dctor advised me to stop taking the medicine because it does more harm than good.
Please advise her to stop smoking because she refuses take my advice.
My teacher advised us to revise our end-of-term essays regularly.
I advise my customers to sample the cookies before they buy them.

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