This week, we answer a question from Ali in Iran. He writes,
“I want to know differences between the words 'advise' and 'advice'. Are they the same with different spellings?” – Ali, Iran
The two words you asked about have somewhat different meanings. The VOA Learning English Word Book definies the verb advise as “to help with information, knowledge or ideas in making a decision.”
The noun form of the word, “advice,” is written with the letter c, which is said like /s/. But the verb “advise” is written with the letter s, which is pronounced like /z/. If you hold your hand to your throat, you will find that it vibrates, moving from side to side, when you say the /z/ sound.
Let us look at sentences with these words, starting with the verb advise.
It’s the cabinet’s job to advise the president.
Nutrition experts advise that we eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
The professional traders advise against selling stock today.
Now, let’s look at the noun advice. Remember “advice” is the information or opinion you get from a friend or an expert.
People often look on the internet for medical advice before visiting a doctor.
My brother gave me good advice: finish my homework and go to bed.
Those friends were giving him bad advice. They told him to leave school.
You may have seen other pairs of words in English that work the same way as “advise” and “advice.” Some examples are the pairs devise and device, appease and peace, prophesy and prophecy (see definitions below this article). Two other words, license and practice, are written differently in British English, but they no longer have different spellings in American English.
So take my advice. Listen carefully to the sentence when you hear the word or look at the sentence around it when you read it. Then you will know if it is a verb or a noun, and you will know the meaning, too.
And that’s Ask a Teacher!
I’m Jill Robbins.
Words in This Story
vibrate – v. to move back and forth or from side to side with very short, quick movements
pair – n. something made up of two very similar parts or pieces; twosome