Coffee Talk #138
March 10, 2008
By Rick Walston, Ph.D.

Sue & Ric Walston with some
CES students at a Starbucks
for a Live Coffee Talk

Table Of Contents




Ya, Yeah, Advice, Advise, Exorcise, Exercise

Hello CT Readers . . .

Grab a red pen and join the party!

I intend to list in this CT some common mistakes people make with specific words. I will give a couple here, and if you desire, you can add more. Just email them to me; however, don’t just send me a word or two, but write it out as if you are the writer for the CT. If you do it well enough, I’ll just cut and paste it word for word, and I’ll give you credit for it. However, make it brief. For now, I want to address a fewwords that are often used incorrectly.

Yeah or Ya?
A person I was in correspondence with told me that he had shifted to being a supporter of John McCain in the upcoming elections. Here is that correspondence.

Q: So, you’ve now become a supporter of John McCain?

A: Ya, I am now a supporter of McCain.

The “ya” is the sound when you say, “See ya later.” Or, “Hand me that hammer, will ya?” Or, “love ya.”

What the person meant to say was “yeah.”

The “yeah” is the sound when you say, "Yeah baby!" Or, “Yeah, you wish!” or, "Are you going with us? Yeah, I'm going."

Ya means You
Yeah means Yes —  "Yeah (or yes), I am now a supporter of McCain."

“Yea” and “Yay!”
Two other words that sometimes (but not often) get tossed into this confusion are “Yea” and “yay!” (Both of these words sound the same, and they rhyme with “hay.”)

“Yea” is a the old, formal way of saying “yes.” It is probably most known for voting.
“All in favor?” And the voters say, “Yea.”
“All opposed?" and the voters say, “Nay.”

Next, when I was a kid, and my dad said, “Let’s all go to the park!” My siblings and I all yelled “yay!”

Yay! is an exclamation of joy, approval, elation, or victory. "Yay! Our team won!"

Advise or Advice
You all know the old saw, “When it rains, it pours.” Well, in the last week I must have gotten ten emails that misused these two words.

Here’s the technical breakdown:
“Advice” is a noun.
“Advise” is a verb.

Note also how they sound (they sound exactly like they are spelled)
“Advice” is ad-VICE (“vice” as in vice squad)
“Advise” is ad-VISE (“vise” as in a holding device attached to a workbench).

Here’s how they are used:
I got some good advice about buying a new home.
Can you advise me about buying a new home.

Exorcise or Exercise
This last one can actually be funny. I once had a student write that, "Jesus exercised demons."

Immediately in my mind's eye I saw an aerobics class in which Jesus was leading demons in jumping jacks.

exorcise means "cast out"
exercise means "work out"

Got others you'd like to share? Email them to me.


Other Coffee Talks dealing with Grammar and Writing




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