Today we're answering this question! Find out when and where 'advisor' is used, as well as how it's different from 'adviser'. Fandom example was taken from Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Some time ago, we had an article on theater vs theatre. Besides this example, there are many other words with different spellings, yet almost exactly the same meaning: grey and gray, depositary and depository, forbear and forebear. This time though, we've got advisor versus adviser!
Most people usually use ‘adviser’. It is considered the primary spelling in most dictionaries around the world and, apparently, it is about five time as common as ‘advisor’ in current news publications found in the English-speaking world.
According to the Longman Dictionary, this is the definition of the word 'adviser':
‘someone whose job is to give advice because they know a lot about a subject, especially in business, law, or politics: a financial adviser’Here’s an example with the word:
“Well then,” says Martin, looking pleased. “If Becky thinks it’s a good idea . . .”
“Yes, but, I really wouldn’t just listen to me!” I say quickly. “I mean, a financial adviser or someone would know far more . . .”
“Listen to her!” says Martin with a little chuckle. “The financial expert herself.”
So what’s the deal with ‘advisor’ then?
Actually, there is barely any difference between the meaning of the two words; in most cases, they can even be interchangeable. ‘Advisor’ is sometimes used in the US and in Canada in order to denominate official titles. It is also found in many companies’ names that deal with various types of consulting.
Despite the fact that publications in the US and Canada also use ‘adviser’, it’s quite possible that you find phrases like ‘financial advisor’ or ‘investment advisor’. What’s more, it doesn’t only relate to the financial domain; you’ll also see ‘chief advisor’, ‘military advisor’, ‘academic advisor’, ‘customer service advisor’, or ‘technical advisor’.
For example, we have an interview posted on armchairgeneral.com with Captain Dale Dye, military advisor for movies.
Retired Marine Corps captain Dale Dye is well known in Hollywood these days, having served as an advisor on such projects as Platoon, Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Twenty-five years ago he couldn’t even get arrested in Hollywood—well, maybe he came close to that in his zeal to get filmmakers to give more accurate portrayals of the military and combat. As he tells it, he got to know a number of movie-lot security guards rather well.
Also, we've got 'college advisor' used on internationalcollegecounselors.com, when describing how they help students.
A personal college advisor can provide the individualized attention any student needs to properly tackle the graduate or undergraduate college admission process. Whether your student is the first person in the family to go to college or comes from a long line of Ivy League graduates, the dedicated advisor at International College Counselors can give your student the tools to find and get into the college of his or her dreams.
While ‘adviser’ is the more common spelling, don’t forget that we have ‘advisory’ with an ‘o’. It works both as a noun and an adjective, though they have quite unrelated meanings:
advisory (adjective): having the purpose of giving advice: advisory committee, advisory body.
advisory (noun): an official warning or notice that gives information about a dangerous situation’
In conclusion, don’t be surprised if you see both ‘advisor’ and ‘adviser’ being used in the US and in Canada. The two words can easily be interchangeable. However, when it's about a job title, you can use 'advisor'.
Sources include: Longman Dictionary, en.wiktionary, grammarist.com, armchairgeneral.com, internationalcollegecounselors.com