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Language Arts

Appraise vs Apprise



This article explains the meanings of both "appraise" and "apprise" and how to remember when to use each of them. Also learn more about the word "apprize" and how it relates to "appraise" and "apprise."

Please apprise me of when you plan to appraise the oil paintings. Visually, the only difference between appraise and apprise is that one has an a where the other doesn’t. Let’s dig deeper and find out some more about these two easily confused words.

Appraise

The transitive verb appraise comes into English from Middle English appraysen, from the Latin ad- + preiser, meaning “to prize or praise” or , in other words, “to value highly.” This undoubtedly contributes to the confusion, because appraise is pronounced /uh PRAZE/, while apprise is pronounced like prize, /uh PRIZE/.

Appraise means either “to make an official evaluation of” or “to estimate the features of.” Here are example sentences:

When the collector brought in a sculpture that he claimed was by Henry Moore, the curator of the museum suggested that they make arrangements to have it appraised.

If you wish to resell a domain name, it’s a good idea to have a professional appraise it.

Honey appraised the risks and benefits of leaving her job of seven years, where she had seniority and a good deal of company-specific knowledge, to start at a promising new firm with a higher salary.

Apprise

Apprise is a transitive verb that comes from the French appris, the past participle of apprendre, meaning “to teach” or “to learn. It means “to inform” or “to give notice,” and it is sometimes used in situations in which official notice of something is required. Here are example sentences.

You are hereby apprised that a buyer has expressed interest in the property you have for sale and would like to have a meeting to make an offer.

Upon being taken into custody, a suspect must be apprised of his or her rights through a clear enunciation of the Miranda warning, including the question to the suspect “Do you understand?”

This seems very straightforward, but unfortunately, there’s another potential source of confusion. Apprise has a homophone apprize that has a meaning very similar to appraise: “to value.” Read on for a suggestion about how to keep these words straight.

Distinguishing Appraise and Apprise (and Apprize)

Here’s a mnemonic for remembering the meaning of our two words appraise and apprise, with apprize thrown in for good measure.

Step 1: imagine all three words without the Ap- in front. For appraise, we have praise. For apprize, we have prize. And for apprise, we have prise.

Step 2: In many cases, if a work is appraised, the result will be praise, so there’s a solid connection there. Prize is a synonym of the meaning of apprize, “to value,” so there’s a good connection, too. The last one’s a little harder, but we can do it: if you saw a word spelled p-r-i-s-e, wouldn’t you want to apprise the writer that s/he had likely made a spelling error? So there you go: each word connected to its spelling.