Some Advice

There are several good reasons why you should avoid jargon in your police and corrections reports: It’s not professional, it might confuse outsiders who read your reports, and the jargon habit can be hard to break when you go on to other forms of writing.

The word advise is an example of jargon that can create problems. Many officers use “advise” as a synonym for “tell”: Barlow advised me that he’d been at work when the break-in occurred. No problem, right? Other officers know you mean “Barlow told me.”

But what happens if you use advise this way when you’re not writing a police report? For example, suppose you’re writing a research paper for college, or an article for a police publication, or a press release for a local newspaper, or a supervisory report.

Advise doesn’t mean “tell” (check the dictionary!) “Tell” means “tell,” and “advise” means “to give advice.” A college professor, newspaper editor, or local official is going to be puzzled if you give the impression that advice was given when actually nothing of that sort happened.

(Can you tell that I just read a college paper full of misused “He advised” and “I advised” sentences? Sigh.)

Here’s a little quiz to make sure you know how to use advise correctly. Change advised to told where necessary. Answers appear below.

1.  I advised Inmate Jones that he was assigned to the morning shift.

2.  I advised Inmate Jones to improve his negative attitude.

3.  I advised Mary Smith to see a doctor about the cuts on her arms.

4.  Smith advised me that her ex-boyfriend was responsible for the cuts.

5.  Chief Simmons advised us that he would be on vacation the first half of July.

6.  Officer Donaldson’s doctor advised him to limit his cholesterol intake.

7.  I already advised the Assistant Warden about the broken alarm in Baker Dorm.

8.  I’m glad I listened to Chief Johnson when he advised me to continue my education right after high school.

9.   The Chaplain advised us that there would be a special religious service Sunday evening.

10. I’m glad my guidance counselor in high school advised me to take a keyboarding course.

Here are the answers:

1.  I told Inmate Jones that he was assigned to the morning shift.

2.  I advised Inmate Jones to improve his negative attitude.  (giving advice)

3.  I advised Mary Smith to see a doctor about the cuts on her arms.  (giving advice)

4.  Smith told me that her ex-boyfriend was responsible for the cuts.

5.  Chief Simmons told us that he would be on vacation the first half of July.

6.  Officer Donaldson’s doctor advised him to limit his cholesterol intake.  (giving advice)

7.  I already told the Assistant Warden about the broken alarm in Baker Dorm.

8.  I’m glad I listened to Chief Johnson when he advised me to continue my education right after high school.  (giving advice)

9.   The Chaplain told us that there would be a special religious service Sunday evening.

10. I’m glad my guidance counselor in high school advised me to take a keyboarding course.  (giving advice)


Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *