Advise vs. Advice
As they have similar spellings and related meanings, advise and advice are often confused in speech and writing. In fact, advice and advise are both used in the same context and situations, i.e. when offering an opinion or counsel. But, grammatically, the use of advise and advice is very different, so it’s important to know the difference.
- Advise is always a verb, meaning to give counsel or to offer a recommendation on a course of action.
- Advice is always a noun, meaning counsel, guidance or a recommendation on a course of action.
Advise vs. Advice -- What is the Difference?
As you can see above, the main difference between advise and advice is one of grammatical form. Advise is a verb, whereas advice is a noun. Consider the following example:
- I advise (verb) you to get some advice (noun) from a professional.
The first part of the sentence, I advise, is the verb, which tells us: I am performing the action of providing counsel.Advice is used in the later part of the sentence as a noun. Essentially a noun is a word that functions as a name for a specific thing (that’s a rough definition, but it serves a purpose here). In this case, it’s a name for a recommendation or piece of guidance. Therefore, we could rewrite the sentence in this manner:
- I recommend (verb) that you get some guidance (noun) from a professional.
We can think about advise and advice in the following way:
- Advise is something you do, or someone does, i.e. perform the action of advising.
- Advice is something you give, take, receive or use, i.e. it is a thing (recommendation) given to, or taken from, someone.
Advise vs. Advice -- When Should I Use Each?
We should, therefore, remember that using advice and advise is not a question of meaning, but rather how a sentence is structured. Essentially, you are asking yourself: What role does advice or advise play in the sentence? Is it the action – the verb – or is it a thing – a noun?
If the subject in your sentence is performing the act of advising, i.e. a verb is required, use advise:
- John advised Polly on her writing segment of her application.
- We can’t advise you any longer; it’s now up to you to make your own decision.
- I will ask the doctor to advise me on the best treatment for my sore throat.
Note that advise is a regular verb, so it will take conjugations like advised, advises etc. to agree with the subject and tense.
If your sentence does not have the act of advising as the main action, i.e. it is a thing and not an action, use advice:
- Polly would like some advice on her application.
- We can no longer give you advice – the decision is now yours.
- I will ask the doctor for advice on what to do about my sore throat.
Note that advice is deemed a mass noun in English, like furniture or garbage, meaning it has no plural form. Advices does exist in English, but it is a specific financial and legal term, not the plural of advice.
How to Remember?
Tips to remember the difference between advice and advise usually focus on the last three letters in the spellings – ice and ise.
First of all, it should be noted that ise is a common ending for regular verbs in English: despise, surprise, improvise, supervise, televise, demise, devise.
Secondly, many English nouns end in ice: dice, mice, accomplice, novice, hospice, justice, device.
So, we should remember that ise is normally associated with verbs, thus advise is a verb, and ice is often associated with nouns*, therefore advice is a noun.
But perhaps the easiest ay to remember that advice is a noun is to remember that ice, as in frozen water, is also a noun.
*there are always exceptions. Dice, for example, could be a noun, such as the dice we roll for playing boardgames and casino games. But dice can also be a verb, meaning to cut something up into small cubes, or as an idiomatic verb, meaning to take a risk, e.g. he diced with death.
- She won’t advise the President in his second term, she is ready to quit now.
- Please advise me on the current weather conditions in the Rockies.
- The doctor advised Jim to quit smoking immediately.
- Nobody is advising us on this matter.
- Kelly advises her clients to use a certain skin-care product.
- Will you advise me on this subject?
- Can you give some advice to the children about learning to drive?
- We need expert advice on our complicated tax issues.
- Jim didn’t take the doctor’s advice on quitting smoking, and now he can’t get rid of his cough.
- They don’t need your advice on any matter, they have it all worked out themselves.
- Tom gives great advice on bowling.
- Whose advice did you take? Your professor’s or your friend’s?