"an advice" is wrong (some advice is correct)

Hey guys,
I’ve just heard this shocking rule, the one it says I can’t say “an advice”.
I can only say some advice, or piece of advice, 'cause it’s uncountable.
All right, I accept the fact, it’s not proper, no big deal, BUT I’ve got to know if people sometimes use “an advice” or I was alone on the whole planet not realising myself sounding funny whenever I gave AN ADVICE to someone, who probably KNEW that there is no such a thing as AN ADVICE.
No wonder that no one takes my advices, HELL I DID IT AGAIN, if there is no an advice, then there are NO ADVICES either!
Help me!
Say you said it too, and You’re planning to say it even more times!
Thanks in advance

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Two of the most common (and irritating) English mistakes that Central Europeans make is to treat advice and information as if they were countable nouns.

Huge numbers of people mistakenly say “an advice” or “advices”, and we frequently see advertisements from that part of the world that say “for more informations”. (If the translation is REALLY bad, it says “for closer informations”, which is real nonsense!) Those are totally wrong. You are not the only foreigner who makes that mistake, and I’m not the only native speaker who feels a zing in my fillings when I hear it.

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Hi Spencer

No, neither “an advice” nor “many advices” is correct. The word “advice” is uncountable.

Native speakers do not make this mistake. Don’t get me wrong — native speakers also make mistakes, but this isn’t one of them. If you said “advices” when you were in Canada, your Canadian friends surely noticed the mistake, but understood you anyway. And therefore nobody corrected you.

As Jamie mentioned, the same is true with the word “information”.

A piece of advice for you:
Follow the advice that you’ve just heard and practice saying things such as:
some advice
a piece of advice
a little (bit of) advice
a whole bunch of English advice” (which is what you can find at english-test.net) :wink:


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Especially Germans tend to say an advice because they translate this phrase from their native language. Speakers of Slavic languages don’t use the articles (a/an/the) so often when they speak English.

Sometimes German companies do the translation (not the ‘localization’) of their website contents inhouse. That’s why you can frequently find phrases like ‘ask for an advice’ or ‘more informations’ on their websites. Other Germans read those texts and start thinking that this is correct…[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, talks: Sales executive leaves voice message for his co-worker asking him to get in touch with accounting department[YSaerTTEW443543]

Believe it or not, though, Slavic speakers are just as likely to say “an advice” as Germans are. They don’t have articles in their own languages, but they begin to use them when they speak English, and that’s how they wind up saying “an advice”.

In English we call Donald Trump “the Donald”. This is because his Czech ex-wife used articles the way they are used in German. Since Germans often use a definite article before someone’s name, his wife frequently called him “the Donald”, and this is now his nationwide nickname.

Grammatical errors are not the only problem that occurs when companies do this. Often they transfer the writing style of the German into English, so that the text is so verbose and formal that the English-speaking visitor won’t read it. Sometimes they take things that would be obvious in German, and they transfer them to English, where they don’t seem to make any sense, for example:

Most English speakers won’t know that “Schwarzkopf” means “black head”, so this sounds like “shampoo with the blackhead”. A blackhead is a skin infection in a hair follicle (Mitesser in German).

Another thing they do is to translate their slogans word-for-word directly into English. Henkel’s English slogan “A brand like a friend” sounds strange in English, and a Henkel employee has told me that suppliers here often laugh when they hear it.

This shows you that even worldwide companies can have foolish translation policies.

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Hi Guys

Translations are often very funny. My Dad was here for a visit in Germany one summer and of course we went sight-seeing. We saw a sign outside a restaurant with information written in both German and in English. In English it said “continuous warm kitchen”. Because I’ve learned German, I understood what that meant (You can get a hot meal all day long). But my Dad had abolutely no idea why a restaurant would go to the trouble of putting up a sign warning patrons that their kitchen was warm. :smiley:


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Yeah, in Central Europe they not only have a tendency to use the word kitchen when they should say cuisine, but they always have this habit of calling hot meals “warm”. When the restaurants there say they serve warm meals, it always sounds to me as if they cook the food, and then leave it standing somewhere for a long time, until it’s not hot anymore, but also not cold yet. Just this expression “warm meals” sounds unappetizing to me.

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Hi Everybody,
as you can see,
I don’t know how to quote.
Somebody please tell me

Jamie, considering You are an english teacher, quite a lot of things irritare You. :slight_smile:

Yankee, I’ve got a bad news for You!
In the name of Ministry of Transportation I nominate You to be my Bloodsister, if You don’t mind it! :slight_smile:
Whenever you see a nonsense in my lines, please don’t hesitate, otherwise I’m going to keep saying it!
If You find this offer too offensive, just forget about it, noone will know that I was asking for it.
It must stay between the two of us! :slight_smile:

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Hi Bloodbrother-Spencer

No, I don’t mind. I’ll do my best. :smiley:
We’ll start with a couple of small mistakes: The capital “Y” in the word “you” is a writing mistake (only “I” should be capitalized, not you, he, she, we, they). And you should eliminate the word “it” (…“if you don’t mind”).

See ya!

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Let’s say it’s my job to be “sensitive”. :smiley:
The alternative is to be tolerant and let everybody talk the way they want to, which means that they won’t learn English very well.

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Thanks Amy,
I’ve been using “I don’t mind IT” for years, and noone stopped me!
It’s become a bad habit, that I don’t even know how to get rid of.
I really appreciate it, please keep on correcting me, I dont mind. (It hurts not to write “it”,really)

Jamie, you got me on this, you have to to be picky, for your job.
That’s actually a gift, as long as you can keep it under control, I mean if you’re not yelling and screaming in great pain from hearing an extremely bad and common mistake coming out of a Central Europeans’ mouth. :slight_smile:


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