Adviser or Advisor?

What do you think?

I am a BIG fan of spell check and I use and regularly when I write (I’m just NOT that good of a speller). There are several online writing helps – those two just happen to be easy to remember (and my computer remembers the link if I can at least spell the beginning of the words correctly).

I forgot, however, to check the spelling of the Project 365 – Day 57 title. Oops. How embarrassing – especially since I am blessed to have an almost perfect speller for a husband. He’s always gracious when he corrects me. I am always gracious when I receive his correction. One of these two statements is NOT true. We’ll leave any further conclusions to the dear reader. says advisor is acceptable as is adviser. Hmmm. According to the Cambridge Guide to English Usage (Pam Peters, 2004):

Both these spellings are in current use, though adviser is the dominant spelling in both the US and the UK. The ratio in American data from CCAE is 20:1 and in British data from the BNC it’s 6:1. Curiously, advisor is sometimes said to be “the American spelling.” Whatever its past, advisor is registered alongside adviser in major British, American, Canadian and Australian dictionaries.

There you have it. Feel free to use which ever you prefer. I think I’ll use both as it keeps people wondering, “Did she mean to spell it differently? Which one is right? Do they mean two different things? Is she ignorant or just a sloppy typist?” All of that in just two words.


Share or follow

Related posts:

6 thoughts on “Adviser or Advisor?”

  1. A quick check on Google shows 34 million instances of adviser and 84 million for advisor. Is that because everyone is wrong?

    Purdue University has officially recognized advisor as a correct spelling as you can see in this grammar tip from their online newsletter.

    The Wikitionary entry for advisor indicates the following:

    In the US, an adviser has a connotation of someone offering unsolicited advice, while an advisor is someone speaking with at least some amount of wisdom or authority.

    So I would say that the usage of advisor in the blog title was correct in this case.

    In practice I have found that the term advisor is generally used to describe a person in an official capacity as someone whose role is to offer advice. The word adviser generally describes someone who is simply offering advice in an un-official capacity.

    I hope this settles the question sufficiently for those grammarians who are sticklers about such things.

    Adviser Carl

  2. Carl – I think Tim would agree with your conclusions. Unfortunately, he is usually asleep by the time I get around to posting my blogs so I can’t run these technical grammar questions by him.

    Does that mean it’s possible to be an adviser in some situations and an advisor (same person) in another context? The English language is fascinating!!!

  3. Kathy, I spend so much cybertime in the middle of the Atlantic I can’t even remember which is american usage/spelling and which is english any more.

    Advisor looks right to me, but who knows? The language is so fluid anyway.


  4. Again… a very nice variety! It reminds me that I forgot to look up if the ride at DW is Astro Orbitor or Astro Orbiter… I think I probably spelled it wrong…

Comments are closed.