April 25, 2017

When to Use Advise or Advice in Office E-mails

The word “advise” is commonly used in work related emails in India. Some common sentences or uses include:
  • “Kindly advise me what to do.” (At the end of an email.)
  • “Frank advised us to….” (In the body of the email.)
  • “I advised the client we would be late to the meeting.”
  • “Please advise your convenient time to meet.” (This is a common way to ask to schedule a meeting.)
  • “Can you advise on the venue?” (Coordinating or scheduling an event.)
 
In the above examples, the word ‘advise’ is used and not ‘advice.’ This is the correct usage (and spelling, as often many spell the word with a c in these uses and not s). Let’s look at some differences of “advise” and “advice.” *The screen shots in this post are from the embedded video.


Advice: 
  • The C sounds like an S sound and is pronounced as an s sound (both words sound different).
  • Advice is noun
  • Advice is NOT COUNTABLE (advices is not a word). Learn how to use this word properly in the video tutorial below.


Advise:
  • The s sounds like a z (click here to learn how to pronounce c/s vs. z)
  • Advise is a verb.
  • Advise has two meanings: to inform or to give advice.
  • Advise has some special considerations when used in a sentence (watch the video below between 5:37-12 minutes).




Tutorial from Crown Academy of English

Are you still unsure when to use advise or advice?
Scroll down for a simple quiz. You can also learn how to replace the word ‘advise’ with synonyms, as described here. 

Note: In many cases the word advise can be replaced by a synonym. The sentence may need to be restructured to use the synonym. This trick can help you either to use advise correctly or you can avoid using the word advise altogether in place of different synonyms to increase your vocabulary. 

See this post on synonyms for “informed” to learn about some synonyms that could be used in place of advise.

Examples:
  1. “Kindly advise me what to do.” (At the end of an email.)
    Kindly guide me on the next steps.
  2. “Frank advised us to….” (In the body of the email.)
    Frank filled us in on....
  3. “Please advise your convenient time to meet.” (This is a common way to ask to schedule a meeting.) 
    Please let us know when you are free to meet.

    EVEN BETTER- An ideal way to word a meeting request to an American is to ask it as a question: Could you please let us know when you are free to meet?
  4. “Can you advise on the venue?” (Coordinating or scheduling an event.)
    Can you keep us in the loop about where the meeting will take place?
  5. “I advised the client we would be late to the meeting.” 
    I pinged the client to let him know we are running behind.
Do keep in mind the word or phrase used as a word replacement does depend on the meaning you are trying to convey. Not all synonyms are replacable without adapting the sentence slightly. 
 
Jennifer’s suggestion: I suggest to try to use synonyms for several reasons. One is that this will help you increase your vocabulary. Two is that, at least in working with Americans, the word ‘advised’ is kind of old fashioned and rarely used. (If you don’t believe me, start paying attention to your American colleague’s emails and let me know how frequently the word is used in say every 10 emails. Then, compare that to how frequently It may be used in emails written by you or your Indian colleagues.) Using synonyms can ‘kill two birds with one stone’- increasing vocabulary and sounding more conversational and contemporary! Everyone wins!

Advise vs. Advice Quiz
Test your English knoweldge at this link. 

Jennifer Kumar, author of this post is the Managing Director and coach at Authentic Journeys. Do not reprint this article without permission.

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