Lil' but Mighty English Blog - Vocabulary

Advice or Advise? Which One Should I Use?!

Advice or advise? Do I use -ice or -ise? What’s the difference? Is it just a case of American and British spelling differences? Or is it something else? In this video, we’ll be looking at the correct usage of the words ‘advice’ and ‘advise’. Ready to find out? Let’s go!

Let’s first take a look at how the two words are used in the following sentences:

  1. Elena gave her daughter advice about what to say to her father.
  2. Elena advised her daughter to tell her father the truth.

As you can see, in the first sentence, it is something you can GIVE, making it a thing, or a noun. Notice how the word is spelt with a ‘c’.

In the second example, it’s something you DO, making it an action, or a verb. In this case, the word is spelt with an ’s’. In other words, to advise is to give advice!

Hence, to decide which word to use, you should ask yourself which form of the word you are referring to.

Are you giving a suggestion about what someone should do in a particular situation? Then, you would need to use ‘advice’ spelt with a ‘c’. For example: He gave me some valuable advice about saving money. In this instance, you are using the noun form.

However, if you are referring to the action of giving someone an advice, the word should then be spelt with an ’s’. For instance: The doctor advised me to rest for the next few days. Here, you are referring to the verb form of the word.

Now that you know the difference between ‘advice’ and ‘advise’, how do you remember how to tell them apart? One easy mnemonic device you can use is to remember this phrase: ‘you can come here for advice’.

Think of it this way: When you come for advice, you’re coming for a thing i.e. a noun – like coming for dinner, or coming for a movie. Remembering this might help you remember to use ‘advice’ spelt with a ‘c’ since it is the noun form. Moreover, since “come” starts with a “c”, this might further help you to spell “advice” correctly as well!

To see if you have understood the difference between ‘advice’ and ‘advise’, try the following questions. You can pause to read and try the questions before I reveal the answers:

Q1. The teacher gave me a useful piece of (advice / advise).
Q2. I (advice / advise) my sister to ask for help if she needs it.
Q3. On her mother’s (advice / advise), Helen decided to sleep early that night.

Did you manage to choose the correct option? Let’s check your answers now!

Q1. The teacher gave me a useful piece of (advice / advise).

Here, the clue is the phrase ‘a useful piece’, which signals that you need to follow it with a noun.

Q2. I (advice / advise) my sister to ask for help if she needs it.

In this sentence, ‘I’ am doing an action i.e. telling my sister what she should do. Therefore, the verb form needs to be used.

Q3. On her mother’s (advice / advise), Helen decided to sleep early that night.

The apostrophe ’s’ used in the sentence just before the word is a clue that we need to use the noun form. This is because we usually use the apostrophe ’s’ to indicate possessive nouns. For example, in the phrase ‘Jane’s dog’, the apostrophe ’s’ shows that the dog (a noun) belongs to Jane.

Before I go, let’s summarise what we have learnt today. ‘Advice’ and ‘advise’ are two different forms of the word and should not be used interchangeably. When the word is spelt with a ‘c’, it refers to the noun form while the word spelt with an ’s’ shows that it is being used as a verb.

I hope this has helped you to differentiate these 2 commonly confused words. Do you have 2 words you have difficulty differentiating? Tell us in the comments section so we can help you sort them out!

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1. Focuses on more than 10 types of subject-verb agreement questions e.g. Neither/Either, question tag, extra information etc.
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Mr Joshua believes that learning does not happen in a vacuum and strives to bring the real world into the classroom. He enjoys telling stories and works hard to ensure his classroom is a welcoming environment in which all students are comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas – It’s fine to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Mr Joshua has a passion for English Literature and encourages his students to read widely and write earnestly.

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