some pieces of advice

Hi!

Someone told me that I would never hear someone ask for “some pieces of advice”. I told him we could say “some pieces of advice” because when I googled it, I found many results. We argued a little. And it seemed that we didn’t understand each other.

My arguments were:

  • ask for some pieces of advice: maybe not correct (googling it gives no result). We often say “ask for advice”.

  • some pieces of advice: correct

Now I just need someone to confirm that “some pieces of advice” is correct and is often used by English speakers, and my arguments were right.

Thanks in advance.

Huy

1 Like

I’m afraid I must disagree with you. To me, “some pieces of advice” sounds either illiterate or jocular; the reason why you would not say it that way is that “some advice” already covers the same meaning.

We say “a piece of advice” only when we want to emphasize that some advice consists of only one discrete point or item, as opposed to a longer argumentation or something like that; using the word “piece” is rather a trick, because we lack a singular form for the uncountable noun “advice”; we use “piece” only when there is no other option. When some advice consists of more than one item, we can thankfully fall back to the collective noun: some advice. We do use the plural, however, when we are talking about a definite number: three pieces of advice.
I suppose the same applies to all uncountable nouns that can go with “a piece of”, or with some other “a … of” that expresses a part of it: some information, some bread, some cake.

Note that the difference between “some advice” and “a piece of advice” is sometimes vague; for what is a discrete item, and what is a longer argumentation? This distinction sometimes cannot be made; when in doubt, do not use “piece”.

“Some pieces of advice” could perhaps be defended if it were used to describe a list of unrelated items that were each a “piece of advice” but could not be taken as a consistent whole; but even then it would be doubtful, since “some advice” would still be possible; and you would rarely present such a list, let alone ask for one.

You could try searching Google for the following:

site:*.co.uk "some pieces of advice"

Hi!

I googled for

site:*.co.uk "some pieces of advice"

and found many results. Many other people are still using it. As you said, they use it to describe a list. And this also means it is still in use!

Anyway, thank you. From now on I will know how to use “advice” more accurately.[/code]

Good morning Tortoise.

Since you appear, once again, to seek conformation of my being incorrect, then please allow me to state my opinion.

If you were to seek guidance from an expert on any subject, and you had a list of enquiries regarding these problems, you would couch your request in one of two forms;

" Could you please advise me regarding these problems?"."
“Could you please give me some advice about these problems.”

You would never ask for “some pieces of advice.”

Kitos.

Hello Tortoise

You can argue your friend about this phrase until the native speaker say his word.

My regards

Tortoise, it will not be easy to find a list of unrelated items. Moreover, you did not interpret these results from Google correctly: 26 hits for all websites ending with .co.uk is incredibly few, especially compared to the number of results for “some advice” on .co.uk, which is around 60,000. Compare for example the spelling error “percieve”, which is found 1200 times on .co.uk.
I will give you some advice: just don’t use “some pieces of advice”.