Language tip of the week: advice

Posted by on July 12, 2012

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Following some useful comments about last week’s tip on how to remember whether to use c or s in words like practice/-ise, here are some tips about using the noun advice:

Advice is an uncountable noun, so:

– it is never used in the plural
– it never comes after an or a number

✗  Naomi Wolf gave me a good advice in her book.
Naomi Wolf gave me some good advice in her book.
✗  They were always there to give practical advices.
They were always there to give practical advice.

Q: How can I refer to a single item of advice, rather than to advice in general?
A: Advice is mostly used on its own or with some.
If you’re worried about it, contact your doctor for advice.
I think you should get some advice from a professional.

You can also say a word of advice, a piece of advice, or (informally) a bit of advice. But none of these expressions is common.

Don’t confuse advice (a noun) and advise (a verb):
✗  I would advice you to choose this company.
I would advise you to choose this company.

More language tips

Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

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