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How to Use "Advice" and "Advise"

How to Use "Advice" and "Advise"

"Advice" and "advise" are another of the many tricky word pairs English learners should pay special attention to. One small letter changes the pronunciation, meaning and usage, so be careful! Let's take a closer look at these two and some words closely related to them.


A man giving life advice to his nephew while sitting in a park

Let's begin with definitions. "Advice" is a noun that means "a suggestion or opinion about what someone should do." It is pronounced with two short syllables, the last one sounding like "ice" or "dice." Of the two main words we're discussing in this article, this is more commonly used in everyday conversations. Look at some examples.

My uncle has always given me good life advice.
I asked my doctor for advice on how to lose weight. 
I don't know what to do. Can you give me some advice?

As you can see, it’s common to ask for advice for serious decisions and for choices that aren't super important, so it's a very useful word.

We use the expression "take (someone's) advice" when we accept someone's suggestion.

I wish I took your advice. Buying that used car was a bad idea.

Note that advice is uncountable. That means saying "a/an advice" is incorrect. However, you can say "a piece of advice."

Let me give you a piece of advice: Put away your phone and enjoy the moment.


A doctor advising her patient after a checkup

Next is "advise," which is a verb! As mentioned earlier, this word is not as common as its noun form. Like advice, it also has two syllables, but the second syllable is longer and sounds like "eyes" or "tries." The meaning is "to offer suggestions about what should be done in a particular situation." It has a slightly formal nuance. 

She advised me to leave early.

A more casual way to express the same idea is to use "tell."

She told me it was a good idea to leave early.

Note that we added "a good idea" to make it sound less like a command or order.

My teacher advised me to spend more time studying.

Unlike advice, which sounds more casual and can come from friends, advising someone includes the nuance of authority, expertise or more knowledge than the other person.

His lawyer strongly advised him not to speak to reporters.
I was advised to read the contract carefully before signing it.
I advised my patient to try and get more exercise.

Other forms and usages

A storm cloud bringing heavy rain

Another noun form is “advisory,” which you can often hear in weather forecasts.

The weather advisory said there will be rain and strong winds this afternoon.

Advisory can also be an adjective! It's often used to describe groups of special people who make decisions, such as advisory boards or advisory committees.

We need time to let the advisory board review the details.

Finally, we have the noun “advisor,” which is a person who gives advice to others, sometimes professionally. (Note that it's also sometimes spelled “adviser.”) This is similar to a counselor.

I have an appointment to speak with my advisor this afternoon. I won’t make a decision until then.


Asking for and giving suggestions is very common among friends and when talking with professionals, so you’ll have many chances to use these words in daily life. Remember the small differences and with a little practice, you’ll be using them both like a pro!