Make Your Editor Cry: Aid vs. Aide

Make Your Editor Cry:  Aid vs. Aide

Even though the words aid and aide have similar meanings, are written similarly, and are pronounced the same, they cannot be used interchangeably.

Aid can be a noun, an adjective, or a verb. When used as a verb, it is synonymous with the words “help” or “assist.” When used as a noun, it can mean “help” or “assistance.”

Examples:

He stayed home so he could aid his aging parents.
The first round of financial aid was granted to the developing country.
I sought legal aid as soon as I realized there was a problem.

Aide is always used as a noun. It is never used as a verb or an adjective. It means “assistant.

Some dictionaries note that the noun form of aid can have the same meaning as aide, but in US English, a person like a personal assistant is almost always an aide (nurse’s aide, presidential aide) but an inanimate object or process is always an aid (hearing aid, first aid) without exception.

For the most part, edited publications also tend to use the word aide for assistant and aid for assistance.

Examples:

We tried to get secure aid from the congresswoman, but we were only able to speak with her aide.
The nurse's aide adjusted my grandfather's hearing aid.
The legal aide offered some websites he thought might aid me in my search.

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