Saturday, March 17, 2018

Advice or Advise?

When it’s time to determine whether you want to use advice or advise in writing, the test is really pretty simple: are you looking for a noun or a verb?

They’re two words that look alike and almost sound alike, plus they refer to the same general idea. But choosing correctly between advice or advise is important because others will definitely notice the mistake.


If the meaning you’re thinking of is a noun, as in the guidance a counselor might give or even just the simple suggestions you might give or receive from a friend or trusted family member, you want the form of the word ending in -ice.

Sarah accepted advice from a co-worker before her meeting with the boss.
The pastor’s advice helped the family through their grief.

It’s pronounced with the stress on the second syllable and it rhymes with ice.

Speaking for myself, I can tell you that I’m a good listener and I usually give excellent advice. My problem, however, is that all too often, I fail to take my own.

Such is life, I suppose.

There’s a less-familiar meaning for advice, by the way, referring to notice of financial transactions. But even in this case, it’s still a noun, not a verb.


As you’ve surely guessed by now, this one is the verb. (If you did guess that, give yourself a gold star!)

If you’re talking about the act of handing out those powerful words of guidance or direction, then you want the version of the word that ends with -ise.

She will advise her boss of the change of plans.
The financial planner will advise the couple on how much to save for the future.

Advise also has a stress on the second syllable, but it rhymes with eyes.

It’s worth noting that advise can also take a meaning that means to inform:

The judge will advise the defendant of his rights before he’s called to testify.

But again in this usage, it’s clearly a verb, not a noun.

So if you’re thinking about the version that means “guidance,” you want advice. If you’re thinking about the version that means giving or accepting it, you want advise.


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Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.