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Advising Others to Take Your Advice

Ask a Teacher
Ask a Teacher
Advising Others to Take Your Advice
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This week, we answer a question from Ali in Iran. He writes,


“I want to know differences between the words 'advise' and 'advice'. Are they the same with different spellings?” – Ali, Iran


Dear Ali,

The two words you asked about have somewhat different meanings. The VOA Learning English Word Book definies the verb advise as “to help with information, knowledge or ideas in making a decision.”

The noun form of the word, “advice,” is written with the letter c, which is said like /s/. But the verb “advise” is written with the letter s, which is pronounced like /z/. If you hold your hand to your throat, you will find that it vibrates, moving from side to side, when you say the /z/ sound.

Let us look at sentences with these words, starting with the verb advise.

It’s the cabinet’s job to advise the president.

Nutrition experts advise that we eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

The professional traders advise against selling stock today.

First reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the cabinet.
First reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the cabinet.

Now, let’s look at the noun advice. Remember “advice” is the information or opinion you get from a friend or an expert.

People often look on the internet for medical advice before visiting a doctor.

My brother gave me good advice: finish my homework and go to bed.

Those friends were giving him bad advice. They told him to leave school.

You may have seen other pairs of words in English that work the same way as “advise” and “advice.” Some examples are the pairs devise and device, appease and peace, prophesy and prophecy (see definitions below this article). Two other words, license and practice, are written differently in British English, but they no longer have different spellings in American English.

So take my advice. Listen carefully to the sentence when you hear the word or look at the sentence around it when you read it. Then you will know if it is a verb or a noun, and you will know the meaning, too.

And that’s Ask a Teacher!

I’m Jill Robbins.

Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

vibrate – v. to move back and forth or from side to side with very short, quick movements

pairn. something made up of two very similar parts or pieces; twosome

Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.



devise - to invent or plan (something that is difficult or complicated)

device - a piece of equipment made for a special purpose

appease - to make (someone) pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired

peace - a quiet and calm state

practise – (British English spelling) To do or perform frequently or habitually; make a practice of; observe or follow usually

practice - the activity of doing something again and again in order to become better at it

license - to give official permission to (someone or something) to do or use something

license - an official document, card, etc., that gives you permission to do, use, or have something

prophesy [ prof-uh-sahy ] to foretell the future

prophecy [ prof-uh-see ] - a statement that something will happen in the future