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How to Use the Word "Advice" Correctly

 

I have encountered many people on italki.com using the word "advice" incorrectly. These people will make it plural by adding an "s" to the end of the word. For instance, "Her advices were very helpful to me." This is incorrect though. It should be "Her advice was very helpful to me." or "Her words of advice were very helpful to me." Advice is a non-count noun, hence you can't add "s" to the end of it to generate a plural form.

 

So how can you indicate whether someone gave you advice on one or more things?

 

== Use a Time Expression Or Verb Form That Indicates More Than One Occurrence ==

 

1. She gave me good advice ALL THE TIME. (plural)

2. She gave me good advice EVERY MONTH. (plural)

3. She gave me good advice EVERY TIME/WHENEVER HE AND I HAD AN ARGUMENT. (plural)

4. She USED TO give me bad advice. (plural because of habitual behavior)

 

== Place "Pieces Of" in Front of It Along with a Number ==

 

1. She gave me TWO PIECES OF advice. (plural)

2. She gave me THREE PIECES OF advice that changed my life forever. (plural)

3. She gave me ONE PIECE OF advice that totally blew my mind. (singular)

 

== Use a Modifier That Indicates One Or More Pieces of Advice ==

 

1a. She gave me good advice ON ALL MY ISSUES. (plural)

1b. She gave me good advice ON MY ISSUE. (singular)

1c. She gave me good advice ON TWO OF MY ISSUES. (plural)

 

2a. She gave me good advice ON HOW TO LEARN FASTER AND HOW TO BE MORE FLUENT. (plural -- "and" indicates two pieces of advice)

2b. She gave me good advice ON HOW TO LEARN FASTER. (singular since it is the only topic listed)

 

3. Advice LIKE THAT is so terrible. (Semi-plural in the sense that it indicates all advice that is similar based on some criteria. For instance, "advice that is given without much thought")

 

== Place "Any" in Front of It ==

 

1. ANY advice that you can give me will be helpful. (1 or more)

2. She didn't give me ANY advice. (zero)

 

 

 

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Comments

What is more, some people often confuse "suggest" "indicate" and "advise" especially for Chinese learners because in Chinese they share close meanings.

 

I can see how that would be a problem then. Hehehe Ugh.

 

Hahaha. Yeah, but I am talking about when people use it to mean an opinion. At least, that is the context in which I always see it used incorrectly on here. Thanks for pointing that out though. If it means "an opinion", it is a non-count word. If it means "a notice", it is a count noun. :)

Shawn, thank you for interesting post. I've got a pretty similar correction in one of my recent notebooks. My "advices" were corrected to "words of advice".

A small question. Is "tips" and "pieces of advice" can be considered as synonims ?

Can I say somethng like this: "She gave me several tips and these pieces of advice were invaluable" ?

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