Commonly Mistaken Words: What do you advise?

dv2037006Although good grammar is something that people take pride in, evidence suggests that there is a great deal more than just your pride on the line. Good grammar is used to evaluate – and separate – candidates from college entrance exams and admissions essays to job interviews and performance reviews. The written word, after all, is often the first thing someone sees about you so, as competition at all levels of the academic and professional ladder increases, it is more important than ever to stand out from the pack and make that first impression a great one. Here are a few ways to clear up the confusion about some commonly mistaken words so that you can do exactly that:

Advice/Advise

Though advice and advise are related in meaning, they are used (and pronounced) quite differently. First and foremost, remember that “advice” with a c rhymes with nice. That will help you remember that, because it is nice, it is also a noun and because it is a noun – a thing – it is something you can give. Thus, as a noun, advice means a suggestion or tip we can“give advice” (a thing) but, by contrast, would never “give advise” (a verb that rhymes with wise) because we can only give things not actions. Of course, if you want to “advise” someone feel free – because to “advise” is to suggest or propose.

Affect/Effect

Affect and effect is another commonly confused pair. Affect is always a verb which means to alter or change. By contrast, while effect can be either a noun or a verb, it is most commonly used as a noun which means consequences or result. For the sake of clarity then, it makes sense to start with effect because, as a noun (and therefore a thing), we can have one or many. This is the key to keeping it separated from its cousin. After all, you can have “many effects” – just like you can have many cups – but you could never have “many affects” in much the same way you could never have many reads.

In the end, though, we hope our advice will have a great effect on you – and your job prospects!


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