Using Advice vs Advise

Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature. He has taught college English for 5+ years.

'Advice' and 'advise' are often confused because they sound similar and have similar meanings, but they actually do different things in a sentence. Read this lesson to discover the difference.

Advise and Advice

I'm really struggling with deciding which college to attend, and could use some good advice. Who can advise me on this? Or is it the other way around?

'Advice' and 'advise' are often confused, and it's easy to see why. They look and sound similar, and even have similar meanings. However, they are separated by the job they play in a sentence. They are different parts of speech, meaning they function in a sentence differently and mixing them up makes a sentence grammatically incorrect.

'Advice' is a noun, or thing, while advise is a verb, or action. You can give someone advice, or you can advise them, but you can't get give them advise or advice them.

A man does some advising in the painting Advice to a Young Artist by Daumier
Advice

Can I Offer You Some Free Advice?

As we already established, advice is a noun, the part of speech that refers to people, places, and things. That means advice is a thing. It means a suggestion or guidance that you give to someone, and it refers to the actual words that you give (like 'don't poke that bear with a stick'), instead of the act of doing it. Let's look at a few examples:

  • I was totally overwhelmed on this project until Mr. Fisher gave some great advice about time management.
  • Here is a piece of free advice: quit talking to me.
  • I could really use your advice on what kind of car to buy.

I Wouldn't Advise That

So, if 'advice' is the actual thing you give when you offer guidance or a suggestion to someone, 'advise' is the act of doing it. That's because 'advise' is a verb, the part of speech that refers to action. Here are some examples of 'advise' in action:

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