Advise versus Advice

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Clearing misconceptions about the correct usage of ‘advise’ versus ‘advice’

You may find the usage of the words ‘advise’ and ‘advice’ somewhat confusing. Simply stated, you should use the word ‘advise’ when you mean the activity of giving information or an opinion to someone. On the other hand, use the word ‘advice’ when you mean the actual information or opinion given. The following examples should help further clarify these definitions.

Incorrect: The rooster forcefully tried to give the hen advise on where she ought to lay her eggs. However, she knew far more on the subject and could advice him on improving several things at the barnyard.

Correct: The rooster forcefully tried to give the hen advice on where she ought to lay her eggs. However, she knew far more on the subject and could advise him on improving several things at the barnyard.

Advice

As mentioned above, the term ‘advice’ describes the actual information received by someone in the form of that other person’s opinion, usually meant in the form of guidance. The next example further illustrates this.

Incorrect: The rooster stomps about the barnyard, choking the hen and spouting advise to her on how she could better lay her eggs. He notices that an elephant has hatched from one of the eggs, and offers the elephant a bit of advise as well.

Correct: The rooster stomps about the barnyard, choking the hen and spouting advice to her on how she could better lay her eggs. He notices that an elephant has hatched from one of the eggs, and offers the elephant a bit of advice as well.

The rooster that has to advise everyone

The rooster clearly thinks he wears the pants, in the picture above. He acts like a bully, taking charge by force. Let us pretend for a moment that he acts as an adviser within the illustration. The term ‘advise,’ again, means offering information to someone, often in the form of guidance — maybe, in this image, forceful guidance.

Incorrect: ‘I have a headache because I have to advice these animals all day,’ said the rooster. ‘If they did not have me to advice them, they could not find food or water.’

Correct: ‘I have a headache because I have to advise these animals all day,’ said the rooster. ‘If they did not have me to advise them, they could not find food or water.’

Now you can advise people — or offer them advice

After this quick refresher on the difference between ‘advise’ and ‘advice,’ you should have a clearer understanding of their correct usages. In short: you offer advice (your opinion), and if you advise, you give guidance to someone. You should find all this much easier to understand than a elephant hatching from an egg.