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Aid vs. Aide

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Due to their similar spellings, “aid” and “aide” are pronounced identically. They sound exactly the same. This is probably the main reason why people often confuse and use them wrongly.

Even though using these words in misspelled forms happens quite frequently, especially for inexperienced English users, “aid” and “aide” actually refer to different concepts. It’s essential that you write them down correctly in order to avoid errors and lack of elegance in your messages. Check their meanings below.

Aid vs. Aide

“Aid” and “aide” both function as nouns, and they are also referring to concepts that are similar, mostly because “aide” has actually derived from “aid”, having a similar significance – yet not identical!

Plus, aid is a lot more frequently used in English, and all these factors form some good reasons why people are tempted to use “aid” all the time, even when they actually mean “aide”, regardless of their spellings.

A notable difference between “aid” and “aide”, besides their meanings, would be that “aid” can function both as a usual noun and as a formal verb, whereas “aide” is always a noun, with a unique meaning.

When do we use “aid”?

As a noun, “aid” mainly refers to a helpful object. Usually, “aid” is used when referring to food, money, equipment or other resources, given to a group of people or to an entire country, as help. It can also function as a verb, in formal contexts, as a more elegant way of referring to the action of helping someone.

Example 1: The victims were offered emergency aid and assistance. – “aid” defines the resources offered as help to a group of people.

Example 2: Please allow me to aid in this situation. – “aid” is a more formal verb for “help”.

When do we use “aide”?

Derived from “aid”, “aide” is also related to helping, but in quite a different way. “Aide” refers to a person whose job is to help someone important, someone with a public function, in general within the government.

Example: The President’s best aide has decided to resign. – an “aide” is a person whose job is to help someone important, usually in the government.

Conclusion

They sound the same, they both refer to the notion of “helping”, but in the end, “aid” and “aide” should not be misspelled or confused because they define different concepts. The first is actually a word for resources offered as help, while the latter defines an employee responsible with helping someone important. The first is something voluntary, the latter is something professional. Make sure you remember the difference between these two, to avoid any misunderstandings or grammatical errors.

Aid vs. Aide

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1 Comment
  • Michelle R Robertson
    Michelle R Robertson
    I'm not sure why I would ever again come to this site for help because the very first sentence on this page has two huge grammatical issues. The second sentence has two errors, as well. This is HORRIBLE on a page where you are you are supposed to be able to learn GRAMMAR, as your name suggests! Yikes! 
    LikeReply 13 years ago

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