Word Confusion: Appraise versus Apprise

Posted October 16, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This may not be a particular popular pair of words, and I would think that anyone using them would understand the difference. Which leads me to hop up on my pet hobby horse. Yep, don’t trust your spellcheck on your computer to find confused words.

Getting back to appraise, there’s something about that a that makes me think of this word as eye-opening. Kind of like those insurance appraisers who show up to tell you how much the insurance company won’t pay out on your claim…*eye roll*…

As for apprise, it’s such a tight little word all scrunched up without that a. I suspect it’s how I’d feel if a cop were, ahem, apprising me of my rights! Eeek! Do remember that while apprise may be an obsolete form of appraise, it is obsolete, which means it is not a popular choice for contemporary writings and will date your story.

So when the insurance guy is apprising you of his appraisal, keep the smelling salts on hand!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Appraise versus Apprise” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

Appraise Apprise
Credit to: Dictionary.com: appraise and apprise

“Alumni House Tornado Damage” by National Weather Service Jackson, Mississippi, is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The damage to The Ogletree Alumni House from the 2013 Hattiesburg, Mississippi tornado has to be appraised by an insurance adjuster.

Smoky the Bear sign tells visitors that they can prevent forest fires

“Apprised” by Nicholas (Flickr) is under CC-BY-2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Smoky the Bear apprises you of the cause of most wildfires.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: appraises
Past tense or past participle: appraised
Gerund or present participle: appraising

Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: apprises
Past tense or past participle: apprised
Gerund or present participle: apprising

An obsolete variation of appraise

Verb, intransitive:
Assess the value or quality of

Verb, transitive:
Set a price or value on something

To estimate the monetary value of

  • Determine the worth of
  • Assess the worth, value or quality of

To estimate the nature, quality, importance, etc.

Make a valuation of, as for taxation purposes

Notify or brief someone of a situation

Give notice to

  • Inform
  • Advise (often followed by of)
  • Make aware (often followed by of)
Verb, intransitive:
The interviewer’s job is to appraise and evaluate.

Verb, transitive:
We had an expert appraise the house before we bought it.

He tried to appraise the poetry of John Updike.

We had an antiques expert in to appraise mom’s furniture.

She stealthily appraised him in a pocket mirror.

Jim had to be apprised of the death of an old friend.

Before you fall behind on bills, apprise your creditors of the situation; they may have programs to help.

We then apprise them of their obligations legally, morally, and ethically.

Adjective: appraisable, appraisive
Adverb: appraisingly, appraisively
Noun: appraisal, appraiser
Verb, transitive: misappraise, misappraised, misappraising
History of the Word:
First known use: 1400–50

Late Middle English apraysen, meaning to set a value on. It’s probably a conflation of aprisen to apprize and preisen, meaning to praise.

First known use: 1685–1695

French appris, meaning taught, informed. It’s a past participle of apprendre, meaning to teach, learn.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits:

More information about The Pocket Guide to Manwatching by Desmond Morris is available at Goodreads.