Grammar in Real Estate Marketing: Should you use "Advice" or "Advise?"

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This morning's Grammar in Real Estate Marketing post comes to you thanks to a suggestion from Palm Beach Home Stager, Kathy Streib.

We shared some "words and grammar" pet peeves on the phone this morning, and she mentioned that the misuse of advice and advise is an error we see on Active Rain far too often. She said "Write about it," so here I am.

Students at their desks

If you learned the difference between nouns and verbs when you were back in grammar school, this one is pretty simple.

All you have to do is remember:

Advice is a noun. It's something you can say or something you can write down, as in instructions.

Advise is a verb. It's something you do.

When your broker advises you he or she is giving you advice. 

Because advise is a verb, it can have suffixes, such as d (I advised my client to think carefully about the terms of this offer.), ing (The weather service is advising motorists to stay off the roads this afternoon.)

When you add er or or, the verb "advise" then becomes a noun signifying one who advises:  er (adviser), or (advisor). Both are correct, by the way, so use the one you prefer. 

When someone comes to you for advice - and you advise them - you become their advisor. (As you can see, I prefer "or.")

Some words, such as run, talk, and even chair are used both as nouns and as verbs, but advice is always a noun and advise is always a verb .

Thus, you can advise a client and you can give him advice. You can't give him advise (verb), but you can become his advisor (noun).



Comments (20)

Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate
RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales - Anacortes, WA
Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties

Marte, It takes me back to English classes in High School. I will take your advice!

Sep 23, 2013 04:20 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Not sure if I have made that mistake before but I will watch for it.

Sep 23, 2013 04:25 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Helen & Larry - I don't know if they teach that in high school today, but they did when I was there!

Gene - It's an easy one to miss when proofreading. 

Sep 23, 2013 04:38 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

One of the most common grammatical errors that we see - "Advice and Advise".  Thanks for the explanation, Marte!

Sep 23, 2013 05:04 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marte- thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!  I know that there are mistakes that we all make but that doesn't mean we can't try to learn from them or correct them.  Thank you!!!!  

Sep 23, 2013 06:55 AM
Tom White
Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN

That's a good one, Marte. My pet peeves include "your" and "you're", "there" and "their", and "are" and "our".

Sep 23, 2013 06:58 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Fred - You're welcome. Sometimes it's easy for your fingers to mix them up - I almost did it myself just a few minutes ago - when I wrote someone for advice. 

Kathy - no, thank YOU! I needed a topic for today, and you gave me one. 

Tom - Oh yes, those are on my list. I've never figured out how people can mix up our and are when they have such completely different spellings and meanings. But then they mix up sole and soul, and heal and heel, and rein and rain and reign, so... 

Sep 23, 2013 07:35 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


Yes indeed there are many such examples that slip through the spell check. We actually need to proof our notes (no matter how much of a hurry we are in ) for context and usage.


Sep 24, 2013 05:02 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@Properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Marte, so it's more complicated than just using spell check?  i guess so!

Sep 24, 2013 02:27 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Dana - Yes, we do. Sometimes gremlins take over our fingers and we type words we didn't intend. 

Patricia - Spell check will catch it if I type adn for and, but not if I type there for their. And maybe that's a good thing. It would be scary to think a machine could know what we were thinking! 

Sep 24, 2013 03:58 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Featured in my  Weekly Series What I Learned at ActiveRain


Sep 28, 2013 12:21 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Lots of things make us crazy. I hate to see "loose" when someone really means "lose."

Sep 28, 2013 10:16 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning,

Excllent advice! I loved how you spelled this out so concisely! I see these words misused often.

Sep 29, 2013 12:30 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Kathy. I'll go see who else is there!

Jill - that one gets to me too, and it's almost as common as "there home." 

Good morning to you too Dorie. Seems like we have dozens of these pairs that get people confused. 

Sep 29, 2013 02:52 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi Marte, a good Enlish lesson.  Your advice is excellent!

Sep 29, 2013 11:24 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Rebecca - Thanks. I do think I'm "Singing to the choir." I think those who don't know the difference between these words probably don't read this kind of post. 

Sep 29, 2013 12:29 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Marty for the most part, I think it's just a typo and that people don't intentionally use the wrong spelling.  Kind of like the mind moving faster than the fingers.  I see the same thing with your and you're. We're thinking "you're" but typing "your."  But then again, there are cases where people just confuse the two.  I am the worst (or is that worse) and spell checking.  Now I'd really like to see you do a post on worse or worst because I never, ever know when to use one as opposed to the other.

Sep 30, 2013 02:25 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Charita - It's worst. 

Sometimes it's a typo, but when you see an agent consistently write "there house" you know it's because they don't know the difference between there and their. I have a brilliant son who can and does figure out how to wire tricky power line installations - and he can't remember the difference betwen those two words. 

So it's not a matter of intellect - more a matter of which things your brain does best. 

I'm putting your request on my to do list - so, "coming soon:" worse and worst. 

(Thanks for the idea!)

Sep 30, 2013 01:48 PM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Marte, Great advice. I love it when you advise people on the correct usage of our language.        

Oct 07, 2013 02:09 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Sandy, I appreciate that. 

Oct 07, 2013 02:26 PM