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Grammar Tip: "Advice" vs "Advise"

Use tricks to remember the little differences between similar words, to avoid incorrect usage. This guide contains grammar tips about "advice" vs "advise".
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February 25, 2011

Do you get the spellings and meanings of "advice" and "advise" confused? Here's an easy memory trick. "Advise" is SPOKEN advice. If you're SPEAKING, you're ADVISING someone. Otherwise, use ADVICE with a C. It's that simple!

Source: Saw someone misuse the word on Facebook yesterday. It sparked memories of my long-ago English and vocabulary classes.

By Lelia Jo Cordell from Springfield, OH

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

One of my favorite subjects Jo.

I enjoy learning these kinds of grammar tips. Even when I know them though, I will often not be thinking, and my hands will type a word my fingers are in the habit of typing since I learned typing by grouping together series of letters. "TH" for instance, I might type "there" instead of "their" which is another often misused word. "There" is a place. "Their" denotes possessiveness. (Is that a word?) LOL

I think almost everyone knows what's right in this case, it's just how and what their hands are most used to typing. Our brains are strange and wonderful master organs and the experts are still learning what makes it work and how it works.

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If we can count items, then we should use "more" and "fewer". If it's not something we can actually see to count, then we should use "less" and "more". For instance, I weigh "more" than Jo, but she makes "fewer" mistakes when writing. I cringe when even experts say something has "less" calories. Although you might know that a Hershey Candy Bar has "more" calories, you can't count them just by looking.

I see "its" and "it's" often misused. "Its is the possesive form of "it" and needs no apostrophe. "It's" is a contraction for "it is", and must have the apostrophe to take the place of the "i" in "is". The same rule applies to ours and theirs or hers. They are possessive forms of other pronouns and require no apostrophe. I know what's right, but often will make the mistake of adding one anyway.

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Creative writing classes teach that it is more important to get the thought down, then go back and do the proofreading to correct spelling and grammactical mistakes. In our haste to get a message "SENT", we so often don't or can't take the time for proofreading, so we see more mistakes in email than in any other place. I have an idea that 100 years from now, anyone picking up some of our email will think that we were all a bunch of untaught individuals. Either that, or they are going to be so ignorant that we'd not be able to read what they were writing at all.

The main thing is to be able to communicate and I suppose we are all doing a pretty good job of that.

Great tip about the words, "advise and advice" Jo. Now, if only I can teach my hands to remember it. LOL Our hands do "remember" when our brains relax and allow them to take over. All musicians know this. Sometimes, it's a good thing, but sometimes, it can get us into trouble when we're writing.

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Pookarina

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful

Jo, great tip. Thanks for sharing.

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful

Pookarina, you have a point. "Muscle memory" does tend to take over. I'm far from a true musician, but used to be able to play a limited repertoire with reasonable accuracy. I also learned the "grouping" technique in typing class. And my unruly fingers still hit wrong keys sometimes. :P

Hey, you want to know something funny? My screen-reading program catches more typos and misspellings than even my eyes used to, lol!

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

I often see "loosing" when people mean "losing". The funniest is the CL posting for a "dinning" table.

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