Posts Tagged ‘confusing words’

Words ending in -ce and -se

June 7th, 2012 in Vocabulary

Some English words have similar noun and verb forms. The noun usually ends in –ce, whereas the verb ends in –se. These words are often confused. Here is a quick overview of them.

Advice and advise

Advice is a noun. It means an opinion or a suggestion. Note that advice is one of those nouns that do not have a plural form. It is also not used with the article a/an.

He gave me some advice. (NOT He gave me an advice.) (NOT He gave me some advices.)

We can, however, stress the singular aspect of the noun by using the expression ‘a piece of’.

He gave me a piece of advice.


Advise is a verb. To advise is to give advice.

The teacher advised his students to work hard.
The doctor advised me to stop smoking.

Device and devise

Device is a noun. It means an invention or a plan.

The telephone is a very useful device.

Devise is a verb. To devise is to invent or plan.

Can you devise a way out?

Envelop and envelope

Envelop is a verb. To envelop is to wrap up or cover.

The fire soon enveloped the house. (= The fire soon covered the house.)

Envelope is a noun. It means a wrapper.

She put the paper in an envelope.

Practice and practise

Practice is a noun.

Practice makes man perfect.

Practise is a verb. To practise something is to do it repeatedly in order to become skillful.

You must practise what you preach.
She practises the piano everyday.

Prophecy and prophesy

Prophecy is a noun.

His prophecy about the defeat of German troops came true.

Prophesy is a verb.

He prophesied the fall of Moscow.