Common English Errors: Advice and Advise

Advice and advise are two words that often trip people up. They sound very similar, look very similar, and have very similar meanings! Here's the quick guide to how to choose which word, and a handy hint to help you remember.

Tip: If you are serious about improving your spelling, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular spelling program, Ultimate Spelling. Click Ultimate Spelling for further information.*

You'll recall the difference between nouns and verbs. Nouns are objects, concepts, things. Verbs are "doing words", words that indicate some sort of action. For example, squirrel is a noun, and run is a verb.

So, where does this come into play with advice and advise?

Quite simply these two words, separated by that single letter (C or S), are two forms of the one concept.

Advice is a NOUN. It means "recommendations, suggestions, guidance". It is pronounced "ad-vice".

Advise is a VERB. It means "recommend, offer suggestions about the best course of action, give guidance". It is pronounced "ad-vize", with a "z" sound at the end.

So you would advise (verb) your friend to get some financial advice (noun) when they are looking to buy an evil lair, for example.

My hint on how to remember the difference?

advISE = verb

advICE = noun — and ice (as in frozen water) is a noun, a thing. So look for the ICE in advICE, and you'll have no problem remembering that it's a noun as well.

Keep in mind that the noun, advice, never changes form — it is a plural already, so you don't ever say "advices". A lot of advice, a tiny bit of advice, and even a ton of advice, yes, but never advices.

Advise, however, being a verb, has several forms: advised, advising, advises, and so on.

Here are some example to practise on. See if you can figure out which form to use in each sentence, either advice or advise. The verb advise may appear in different forms (advises, advised, etc). Then check your answers below! Don't peek! 


1. Shelley wanted my _____ about her boyfriend woes, but then she ignored everything I said!

2. Can you get some medical _____ about that nasty rash, and quickly, please?

3. Please _____  me about what to do about this duck infestation.

4. Her lecturer ______ her on how to pass the course. 

5. I was ______ him to clean up his act, when the squirrels suddenly turned up.

6. Some _____ is welcome, and some is not!

7. Jenny strongly _____  Troy to stop eating jelly snakes.

8. Why did you _____ Paul to buy that sweater, he looks ridiculous!



1: advice  2: advice  3: advise  4: advised 5: advising 6: advice 7: advised (or advises) 8: advise

*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Spelling. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Spelling software because we are happy to endorse that software.


Last modified on Sunday, 29 November 2015 01:01
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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