Wrong Word Wednesday #65

Every week I demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the word intended. Usually, this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence and sometimes it sounds amusing, other times it sounds embarrassing. Unfortunately, the mistake is so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

And we’re back after a Christmas break! Today’s offering is…

Advice / Advise

This is one of confusion more than anything else. They are pronounced similarly and mean a similar thing but are different.

Advice is a noun. You offer advice to somebody when they are looking to have questions answered.

Advise is a verb. It is the process of giving advice.

You advise somebody with your advice. There is a good little trick you can use. Try substituting the words “assist” or “assistance” in place of “advise” and “advice” respectively. If the sentence makes sense, you have the right one.

“Can I ask for your advice / assistance”?

“Could you advise / assist me”?


3 thoughts on “Wrong Word Wednesday #65

  1. I don’t usually find the word substitutions helpful as it’s easy to remember them the wrong way round (assist/assistance which goes with which?) I do know the difference with these ones though, it’s never been one that’s tricky for me somehow. I’ve been trying to think up an alternative way of helping people remember which to use…I think making them past tense helps.
    He advised me.
    He gave me advice.

    1. Ah, that’s another good one because you can’t say “he adviced me” because there are few nouns where you can use past tense.

  2. Yup! I don’t often confuse these, but am always perplex when other folks confuse it. They sound very different to me, but they look very similar. Maybe that’s the problem.

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