Advice vs. Advise: What’s the Difference?

English has a lot of tricky words in its vocabulary, but advice and advise are two words that are especially tough to keep track of. I even find myself taking a double take at the paper as I write them down, making sure I have them correct.

The problem is, of course, the words are both spelled very close to each other, their meanings focus on the same idea, and their pronunciations don’t immediately make their uses evident.

What’s the Difference Between Advice and Advise?

Today, I want to go over the definitions of these two words, their functions in a sentence, and give you a few ways to easily remember what’s different between them. After reading this post, you shouldn’t ever confuse advice vs. advise again.

When to Use Advice

advice versus advise grammar rulesAdvice is noun and is defined as, “guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action; opinion about what could or should be down about a situation or problem.” For example,

  • Do you have any advice for the president?
  • She started exercising on her doctor’s advice.
  • My advice to you is to invest your money early.

To give someone your advice on what to do or not to do is similar to offering them your “assistance.”

When to Use Advise

please advise v adviceAdvise is a verb and is defined as, “to offer suggestions about the best course of action.” For example,

  • How will you advise the president?
  • Her doctor advised her to start exercising.
  • I advise you to invest your money early.

To advise someone in a matter is similar to “assisting” them.

Pronunciation of Advice/Advise

Advice and advise are pronounced differently.

The “c” in advice has an “s” sound. It sounds the same as if you were to sandwich the two words “ad” and “vice” together.

The “s” in advise has the a “z” sound.

Remember the Difference

There are two good checks you can use to keep yourself free from errors while using these two words.

Check One: The first is that the word “advice” never changes its form. This means that you never add an “s” or “ing” to advice. It should always appear just as you see it here: advice. If you ever find yourself wanting to add any additional letters onto advice, you are about to make a mistake.

Check Two: The second check is to substitute the words “assistance” and “to assist” in their places.

If you replace the word in question with “assistance” and your sentence still makes sense, “advice” is probably the correct choice. For example,

  • He really needs ______ from an expert.
  • He really needs assistance from an expert.
  • He really needs advice from an expert.

Similarly, if you replace the word in question with “assist” and its various forms and your sentence still makes sense, “advise” is probably the correct choice. For example,

  • Will you please ______ me?
  • Will you please assist me?
  • Will you please advise me?

Summary

The two words advise vs. advice have similar meanings, but their functions in a sentence are completely different. In order to keep your writing free of any embarrassing mistakes, it’s important not to mix these words up with each other.

Advice is a noun, similar to the word assistance.

Advise is a verb, similar to the verb “to assist.”