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A friend of mine said that in everyday speech advise can be used as a noun to replace advice, like can you give me an advise?
I think that it should be either can you give me an advice or can you advise me.

Who's right?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In standard English, only advice can be used as a noun. When someone spells the noun as advise, I rather think it is a mere typing mistake, and that he would really pronounce it like advice, not like advise. (The c sounds like /s/, the s sounds like /z/.) The typing mistake is fairly common, but still widely considered incorrect.

Note also that advice is normally uncountable, so you cannot say or write an advice; you need to remove the indefinite article an.

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Although, to be sure, you can write an advice column. –  kojiro Apr 13 at 20:57
    
@kojiro: Haha sure! Most nouns can be used adjectivally, and, when they modify a countable noun, you can put a(n) in front. –  Cerberus Apr 13 at 22:18

It's possible that some people might use advise this way, but I've never heard it before. It's definitely nonstandard—the existence of advice blocks the conversion of advise from verb to noun.

My advice? Don't use it, even in informal speech. Besides being nonstandard, it may not be understood. Instead, use the standard noun advice:

Could you give me some advice?

Note that advice is a non-count noun. Ask for some advice, not *an advice.

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As others have said, your friend is not correct. The reason for the confusion is probably because there are several other words that Americans spell the same way when the pronunciation is the same: "license" and "practice" come to mind. British spell "license" when as a verb, and "licence" when used as a noun, and spell "practise" when used as a verb, and "practice" when used as a noun. Americans always spell these two words "license" and "practice".

So, if the pronunciation is different, both American and British English will spell it as pronounced; "advise" and "advice", "devise" and "device" are examples of this.

Here is a nice little summary of spelling differences between British and American English in words using -se and -ce.

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Thanks for the link –  xaxa Apr 13 at 17:42

Regardless of whether it's in the dictionary with that meaning, some people will use a verb as a noun meaning, "an act of doing that thing", if they judge it convenient.

If by "everyday speech" you mean "informally", then this example "an advise" might happen from time to time. If by "everyday speech" you mean that your friend is saying it's common then no, it is not.

In English the noun "an advising" is missing (at least, I don't think I've heard it used so far in 35 years. If I did hear it I'd know what it meant since it's a regular formation). So "some advice" is what you're given, "an advise" would be an act of giving it, if it were correct. What you might commonly hear in business is, "can you give me a steer on this?" "A steer" is (perhaps intentionally) vague between advice, opinion, and instruction :-)

Anyway, "an advise" is probably comprehensible but would usually be rejected as incorrect, or at best considered an idiosyncratic use. I think it's the kind of thing that could be invented and dismissed as "management-speak", especially since the alternatives are as plain or plainer.

"Can you give me an advise?" therefore should be "Can you advise me?", as you suggest, or "Can you give me (some) advice?"

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Like "an ask", something a lot of people say these days... –  snailplane Apr 14 at 14:35

So far, I've noticed this especially from my friends from India. I think it's has something to do with how the word looks in regards to phonetic pronunciation.

  • Please give me advice. Pronounced ad vis' with long i sound like right, try, fly.

  • Please advise. Pronounced ad viz with long i sound like right, try, fly - and a clear "z" sound like zoo to differentiate from advice.

Ask your friend to show you one web page that says advise can be used as a noun. (Your friend may actually find one.) Just google for advice advise and see how many hits you get.

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