Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

The English language can be very tricky, even for confident native speakers. It’s not uncommon for people to mistakenly use advice when they really mean to use advise. After all, they have similar meanings and nearly identical spellings.

Just as there is a fair bit of confusion over adverse and averse, the same kind of confusion happens all the time with advice and advise. So, what’s the difference?

Advice (pronounced “ad-vahys“) is a noun, meaning a recommendation or opinion given from one person to another. This is meant to act as guidance and is usually offered by someone who is viewed as knowledgeable in the area of discussion. For instance, you may ask a professional freelancer for some smart advice on starting a freelance business. Similarly, you may approach a financial advisor for advice on a retirement savings plan.

I acted on John’s advice and decided to buy the Honda instead.

Tim gave Tara some great advice on how to keep fit.

An “advice” can also refer to a formal communication or notification of some kind, usually in the context of a business agreement.

Advise (pronounced “ad-vahyz“) is a verb, meaning to give counsel or a recommendation. In other words, to advise is to give advice. It can be used at least a couple of different ways:

My doctor advised me to rest for a few days.

My doctor advised plenty of bed rest.

I was advised of the importance of getting more rest.

And so, I advise you to follow this grammar tip and read my blog posts with other grammar advice. This way, you can be sure you are using the right words at the right time.