How to use “advise” and “inform”

“Dispatch advises that the suspect is still on the scene.” So goes a familiar line from a popular TV show.

While advise may be used in this manner, it means primarily to offer advice; that is, recommend or suggest a course of action.

Our attorney advised us to rewrite our employee handbook.

(Incidentally, watch your spelling of the word. Sometimes people write advice instead: “I hope he can advice us of the proper course of action.” Spell check won’t catch that error.)

This may seem like “hair-spitting.” Dictionaries typically allow advise to be used in place of inform, but there really is a difference. A more appropriate verb is inform.

The marketing manager informed his staff that….

I was informed of this change….

After being informed of the new rules, we decided to….

Tom Fuszard, content writer, blog writing, pr writing, web copy



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