Advice vs Advise: What’s the Difference?

When considering advice vs advise, writers need to know that these are not synonyms, and are actually different parts of speech.

The words “advice” and “advise” look very similar, but that one simple spelling change, the “c” into an “s” changes the word completely. Not only are these two words pronounced differently, but they are also different parts of speech. 

Yet the fact that these words look and sound so similar and show up in the same context often make them easy to mix up. Good writers need to understand the difference between advice vs. advise if they will create meaningful, understandable writing.

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Advice vs Advise – Understanding the Differences

Advice vs advise explained

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “advice” with an -ice is a noun that means “recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct.” The dictionary defines advise with an -ise as a verb that means “to give a recommendation about what should be done” or “to give advice.”

Based on these two definitions, writers can easily see why these land on lists of commonly confused words in American English.

A Closer Look at the Noun Advice

A Closer Look At The Noun Advice
Advice most commonly refers to recommending a course of action or conduct

“Advice” with a c is a noun. The -ice ending sounds like the word “ice.” It most commonly refers to recommending a course of action or conduct, but it can also be used to mean an official notice.

Here are some example sentences using “advice” as an uncountable noun. 

  • He gave advice about how to win the girl's affection.
  • The teacher gave the students some advice on how to study for the exam.

“Advice” can also be a countable noun, but in this case, it is always paired with “piece of,” as in:

  • Let me give you a piece of advice about going to college.

Finally, the plural of “advice” can refer to official government recommendations or statements, such as:

  • The official advices from the CDC recommend avoiding unnecessary travel to countries where illness is prevalent.

A Closer Look at the Verb Advise

Advise with an -ise ending sounds like “ize.” This verb means to give advice to someone. So, you could advise someone with your best piece of advice.

Here are some examples of advise used correctly:

  • He advised the students about what time to come to class to avoid late marks.
  • She was willing to advise her understudy about the best way to tackle the scene.

Because it is a verb, advise can also be a participle, which is a verb ending in -ing or -ed that acts as an adjective. This might look like:

  • The advising attorney recommended the prosecution push for stronger charges.

American English vs British English

The advice vs. advise conundrum comes largely from the differences in spelling between British English and American English. In British English, many words that have both a verb and a noun form change between the “s” and “c” to distinguish. For example, “practice” is a noun while “practise” is a verb.

This is not the case in American English, where both the noun and verb form of the word end in -ce. Thus, American writers get confused when presented with advice and advise.

The same thing is true for the words “device” and “devise,” which are less often confused. Again, the -ice ending is the noun form and the -ise ending is the verb form. If writers can remember these two and keep them separate, then advice vs advise becomes much easier.

The Final Word on Advice vs Advise

Keeping “advice” and “advise” straight is fairly simple. The -ice ending sounds like “ice” and is a noun, while the -ise ending sounds like “ize” and is a verb. This is always the case, without exception, and that makes the differentiation between the two very simple.

Learning this rule will help you avoid problems from these commonly confused words in your own writing.

FAQs on Advice vs Advise

Are “advice” and “advise” interchangeable?

No, “advice” is always used as a noun, whereas “advise” is always used as a verb. Thus, because they are different parts of speech, they are not interchangeable.

Can “advise” take the role of a participle?

Yes, advise can be a participle to describe a noun. The sentence “The advising professor recommended adding another history course” uses it this way.

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Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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