Please Advise – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a polite way to ask your boss for direction on a project? Maybe a client is looking for extra work but your supervisor has not signed off. One way to ask for clear direction in a professional manner is to say “please advise”. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The meaning of please advise is to ask a person for their thoughts on an action or saying. When you are requesting information on how to move forward, or what the best course of action may be, using the phrase please advise is acceptable. A simple way to explain the phrase is to recommend or inform a person. In most cases, the phrase advise is used in a professional or official manner.

A person casually seeking help with a problem or concern will just ask for “help”. In official, professional, or formal settings, please advise is preferred. To brief a person on a subject, to appraise them of a situation, or even to offer counsel are other meanings of the phrase please advise.

Example

“Should the patient take sleeping pills before or after their meal? Please advise”.

“Please advise if you think that this order can be approved by Friday”.

“Please advise us of which way you want to go in regards to hiring for this position”.

“Please advise the team if this answer to the client’s demands is acceptable”.

Origin

Asking for advice or direction isn’t new. However, the actual phrase please advise started being used in the 1800s. The phrase was mainly used to ask for insight or to encourage people to respond via written mail. The term was used amongst the gentry and the law sect alike. As the 20th century rolled around, it was found commonly in email communications between professionals. It is common in business communications, educational exchanges, and other formal situations.

When the phrase first started, it was intended as a polite request for the reader or listener to pay attention to the topic. It transformed into a formal method of requesting a decision or further information in regard to said topic. In modern times, it is mostly used in highly formal settings, official documents, legal forums, and the like. When used in casual conversation or communication, it is considered passive-aggressive.

Phrases Similar to Please Advise

  • Let me know
  • Give me your feedback
  • Get back to me
  • I look forward to your response
  • I would like to you’re your thoughts

Phrases Opposite to Please Advise

  • We have decided
  • Kindly review
  • Take a look

What is the Correct Saying?

  • The correct saying of the phrase is please advise.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Please Advise

The most common way people misuse the phrase is by taking speaking out of context. It is also commonly mistaken for “please give me some advice” as opposed to “please advise”. Some ways that Please Advise is misused are:

  • Please advise me on how to talk to Tim. I am at a total loss.
  • I don’t really know how to talk to little kids that are sick. So, please advise on what to do next.
  • There is nothing worse than dealing with lost people, please advise the way to get to the map store.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Please Advise

Some ways that Please Advise is used correctly are:

  • I need some direction on how to deal with the complexity of this request, please advise.
  • We received a notice of the resolution of this debt, please advise as to what your next course of action will be.
  • There is one set of directions from the morning shift and other from the supervisor, which one should we follow, please advise.
  • Please advise us on the proper procedure for meeting foreign dignitaries who are under duress.

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