The Difference Between “Advise” and “Advice”

People who use English as a marketing tool really should learn to avoid the most common usage errors.

One of the most common mistakes is to interchange the noun advice and the verb advise.

The error is so common that it is frequently described on hundreds of sites that address usage. I know that I’ve written on it numerous times, and it’s the third entry in my vastly popular writing guide 100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid.

How, I wonder, is anyone who uses English in a professional context able to avoid learning the difference between the two?

Here’s an ad that came up this morning in my Facebook feed:

Lana, the Apple Certified Support Professional. advises “3 easy steps.” She is offering advice.

The two words are not only spelled differently, they are pronounced differently.

The verb, advise, is pronounced with a z sound: \ad-ˈvīz\

The noun, advice, is pronounced with an s sound: /ad-vice/. \ad-ˈvīs\

My eye was drawn to the ad because I am a Mac user and I might have clicked on it to find out more, but the error stopped me cold.

If you’re selling, spelling counts.

BTW If you need to brush up on your high school English, my little style guide is the place to go: 100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid. It not only covers the most common errors of spelling and usage seen in advertising, it contains a review of the parts of speech and the parts of the sentence. Most attractive of all is its price: print 6.99; Kindle 3.99.