Advice vs. advise?

The word advise is a verb defined as the act of providing guidance, information, or an opinion. We use the word advice as a noun to represent the opinion, suggestion, or information itself.

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What is the difference between advice vs. advise?

Advise and advice are commonly confused words because they share similar definitions, spelling, and, often, pronunciations. But it’s important to know that we use advice and advise in different parts of speech. 

To further illustrate: If you’re providing a suggestion, you’re advising someone. But the suggestion, itself, is a form of advice. Yes, both words share definitions involving the notion of providing people with beneficial information, but the word advise is a verb, and advice is a noun. 

Why we confuse advise for advice

It’s easy to mix-up words like advice and advise because they behave like homophones, which are sets of words pronounced similarly, but with different meanings and spelling. In the case of advise vs. advice, both words are spelled similarly except advise uses the letter “s” instead of the letter “c.”

We may also pronounce advise and advice similarly if we miswrite noncount nouns like advice with a plural “s,” or if we mispronounce the second syllable of either word. For instance, American English speakers pronounce the “-ise” of advise and the “-ice” of advice with an “s” sound more often than a “z.” This is also true for words like “exercise,” “rise,” “guise,” or “sacrifice.” 

Depending on one’s local dialect, we often pronounce these word endings differently, but let it be known: advice is pronounced with an “s” at the end, while advise is pronounced with a z sound. 

There’s one other tricky reason why advice and advise are kind-of homophones and kind-of-not: they essentially mean the same thing. Both words represent a different part of speech, but we use them to convey the act of suggestion, expressing one’s opinion, or providing information. 

The verb advise is similar to words like advisable, adviser, and advisory because they each describe the act of providing guidance or suggesting a solution. The difference between each term is just like advice vs. advise, though, because they’re all written differently in sentences. For instance, the word adviser is a noun (i.e., a person, place, or thing), while the terms advisable and advisory are adjectives that describe something in the sentence. 

Similar to adviser, the word advice is a noun, and it objectively represents a literal or figurative source of information or direction. But unlike the verb advise, the noun advice doesn’t share meaning with derivatives of the same word. There are no other English words spelled like advice (with a “c”) and with the same connotation.  

What does advise mean?

The word advise is a verb that describes the act of providing advice or recommending a course of action. Alternatively, we can use the verb advise to describe the act of informing, warning, or providing a critical perspective. 

Example sentences include:

“I advise that you avoid alcohol for the duration of treatment.”
“We advise that you stay home to avoid the spread of coronavirus.” 
“Lawyers can advise arrestees of their rights.”

Depending on whether we’re writing for the past, present, or future tense, we can use the infinitive “to advise” as advise, advised, or advising. For example,

“We advise students to study daily.”
“Pulling all-nighters is not advised.”
“They’re advising people to drink water.”

It’s important to note how the act of advising is performed with the best intentions. The opposite of advising is intentionally staying quiet or hiding information, especially if we inform with the intent to deceive or trick others. 

Synonyms

Adjure, admonish, advocate, alert, brief, caution, coach, counsel, inform, forewarn, notify, parley, recommend, warn.

Antonyms

Deceive, delude, disapprove, discourage, fool, lie, neglect, pretend, trick.

What does advice mean?

The word advice is a noun defined as a recommendation, notice of information, or a piece of previously unknown information. 

Example sentences include:

“The doctor’s advice is to sleep eight hours a night.”
“Nobody enjoys unsolicited advice.”
“Do you have any good advice?”

We also use the noun advice in the phrase “take advice” to indicate that someone received information from a credible source or expert. 

For example,

“You should take advice from my doctor.”

A piece of advice does not always have to represent factual information. In fact, the word advice can represent gossip or rumors if provided with good intentions. Either way, the word advice is often provided in the form of an opinion, parable, or the evaluation of one’s experience to benefit another–– not to deceive. 

Synonyms

Answer, consideration, counsel, direction, forewarning, guidance, help, intelligence, input, lecture, message, recommendation, rumor, solution, suggestion, tale, tip.

Antonyms

Betrayal, discouragement, deceit, ignorance, falsehood, lie, misinformation, obstruction.

The etymologies of advise vs. advice

The words advice and advise both appeared in Middle English around the 14th century, which makes sense because they each derive from Anglo-French avis for opinion, judgment, perspective, or “a sense of vision.”

But as far as word histories go, the differences between advice and advice arise from how Old French terms “a” and “vis” translate from Latin roots ad- and -visum to mean ‘to see,’–– lending advice to mean ‘an opinion given’ as a noun.

How to pronounce advice vs. advise?

While the terms advise and advice possess similar spelling and meaning, each term is pronounced differently. This is true regardless of American English or British English dialects, which posses different enunciations of the letter “a.” 

The word advice is pronounced as ‘ad-vice’ in American English and ‘aud-vice’ in British English. It’s important to note that either dialect pronounces the “-vice” as though the “c” has an “s” sound.

American and British English speakers both pronounce advise with a “z” sound at the end (like “-ize”), but the first syllables are pronounced differently. Americans pronounce the verb advise as ‘ad-vize’ or ‘ad-vaiz,’ while British English speakers pronounce the term as “ad-vaiz.” 

How to use advice in a sentence?

The most common way to write advice in a sentence is while describing a recommendation or information given to someone. Since advice is a noun, we don’t need to worry about changing the form for past, present, or future tenses. 

Here are a few easy sentences that model the correct way to use advice

“We need advice on how to travel abroad.”
“Do you have any advice for future students?”
“The children never took our advice.”

Understanding “advice” as a noncount noun

We use the word advice in sentences where a deliberate suggestion, tip, or recommendation is given to somebody, but this doesn’t mean that “advice” only represents one bit of information.

The noun advice in a noncount noun, which means that it refers to something we cannot count or divide on its own. Other uncountable nouns include words like freedom, joy, or maturity. Since advice is a noncount noun, we do not add an “s” at the end to indicate a plural amount.

Correct:Let me give you some advice.”
Incorrect:Let me give you some advices.” 

If you’d like to use the word advice in a way that indicates a singular count, try adding a determiner term like “a” or “one” before phrases like “piece of advice.” 

For example,

I have a piece of advice” or “She had one piece of advice.”

In cases where you’d like to indicate more than one suggestion or opinion (i.e., advice), you can write the word piece as plural “pieces,” instead of adding an “s” to advice.

Additionally, be sure to use a number or determining modifier in front of the phrase “piece(s) of advice” to indicate an amount. 

For example,

Determiner: “Mom has given me every piece of advice possible.”
Determining pronoun: “He provided several pieces of advice.” 
Number: “I’ll give you two pieces of advice.” 

Writing tip!

The more descriptive your modifier is, the less you’ll need to recite phrases like “a piece of advice” verbatim. 

For example,

Adjective: We have an infinite amount of advice.” 
Plural noun: “You’ll find a plethora of bad advice on the internet.”

Also, you’re not required to use abstract modifiers to indicate an amount creatively. There are ways to use everyday verbs like “has” to modify words, as well. 

Verb: “She has advice for days.”
Verb: “They’re handing-out unsolicited advice.”

How to use advise in a sentence?

Overall, we use the word advise to describe the act of recommending or suggesting the best course of action to another. Whether you’re writing in the first, second, or third person, the subject “advising” is the person providing information in the sentence (i.e., they act as the adviser or advisor). 

First-person examples:

“I advise that you stay at home.”
“We’d advise against drinking.” 
“Don’t advise us what to do.” 

Second-person examples:

“You’d rather advise students than teach?” 
“You shouldn’t advise people to switch college majors.”

Third-person examples:

“She may advise you to study English grammar.”
“He can’t advise students to avoid student loans.”
“They advise that we should provide uniforms.” 

What about using advise for the past, present, and future tenses?

We can write the word advise for the past, present, and future tenses, but this verb is a bit trickier than you’d expect. Why? The word advise contains verb forms (i.e., advise, advising, or advised) that are not specific to one tense. 

For example, the present tense of the verb is “advise,” but we also write “I am advising” for the present continuous tense. The same is true of the term’s past and future tenses, as well. But instead of toiling over the correct tense by memory, here’s a quick run-down of each verb tense involving “advise:”

When to use advise:

Present tense

Use present tense to describe an act performed in real-time. Beware of how pronouns change the verb’s singular vs. plural form. 

I, you, they, we: I advise.
She, he, it: He advises.

Future tense

Use the future tense to express an action that “will” occur in the future. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: They will advise.

When to use advising:

Present continuous

The present continuous tense describes a continual action in real-time. Beware of how pronouns change the first, second, and third person of “be.” 

I: I am advising.
You, we, they: You are advising.
She, he, it: She is advising.

Present perfect continuous

Use the present perfect continuous tense for actions that have already begun (i.e., “have/has been”) and continued into the present tense. 

I, you, they, we: I have been advising.
She, he, it: He has been advising.

Past continuous

Use the past continuous tense to express an action that “was” occurring in the past at some point.

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I was advising.

Past perfect continuous

The past perfect continuous describes a continuous act that ended before another past action occurred (i.e., “has been”). 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I had been advising.

Future continuous

The future continuous tense describes events that “will be” occuring at a later time. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I will be advising.

Future perfect continuous

Use the future perfect continuous tense for actions that continuously take place in the future (i.e., “will have been) and end before another act begins. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I will have been advising.

When to use advised:

Present perfect

We use the present perfect tense to describe an action that “has” occurred once or many times before now.

I, you, they, we: I have advised.
She, he, it: He has advised.

Simple past

The simple past tense describes an action that occurred before the present moment. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I advised.

Past perfect

The past perfect tense describes a completed action that “had” occurred before another. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I had advised.

Future perfect

Use the future perfect tense to describe future actions that “will have” ended before another began. 

I, you, she, he, it, they, we: I will have advised.

Test Yourself!

Here’s a piece of advice: before using the words advise or advice, try testing how well you understand each term with a quick grammar quiz. 

  1. The word ________ is defined as a recommendation or a helpful opinion. 
    1. Advise
    2. Advice
    3. Advising
    4. Advised
  2. The word ________ is defined as the act of providing information in hopes of benefiting another.
    1. Advisor
    2. Adviser
    3. Advise
    4. Advice 
  3. Whoever suggests a best course of action acts as the __________.
    1. Adviser
    2. Advice
    3. Advise
    4. Advicer 
  4. Which term is not a synonym of the word advise
    1. Brief
    2. Guidance
    3. Coach
    4. Forewarn
  5. Which term is not an antonym of the word advice
    1. Discouragement
    2. Falsehood
    3. Delude
    4. Lie

Answers

  1. B
  2. C
  3. A
  4. B
  5. C

Sources

  1. Advise.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  2. Advise.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  3. Advise.” Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Ed., 2013, Thesarus.com, 2020. 
  4. Advise.” Reverso Conjugation, Reverso-Softissimo, 2020. 
  5. Advice.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  6. Advice.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  7. Advice.” Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Ed., 2013, Thesarus.com, 2020. 
  8. Bruhl, Esther. “The /s/ and /z/ sounds that will change your world in English.” Speak More Clearly, 2019. 
  9. Count and Noncount Nouns (with Articles and Adjectives).” Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, 2020. 
  10. Points of View in Writing.” Online Writing Lab, Aims Community College, 2018.