Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A is for Appraise and Apprise

I hope this post will apprise you of the difference between apprise and appraise.

After reading it, you can appraise it (and apprise me of your conclusions, if you so desire).

The confusion in usage between apprise and appraise has come to my attention on numerous occasions on the radio and in person in recent days. This is my appraisal.

Interestingly, people often use appraise when they mean apprise.

I do not believe I've ever heard people use apprise when they mean appraise.

People never think to say, "the jeweler apprised the gem collection." They do say (incorrectly) "Johnny's mom appraised his teacher that little Johnny would not be in school on Tuesday."

A simple rule of thumb: You apprise people. You appraise things. You appraise things for people. You apprise people of your appraisal of things.

To appraise means to put a value on. If you appraise me, you are putting a price tag on me. That's not nice.

To apprise means to inform.

Below, some dictionaries apprise us of their appraisal of the two words.

tr.v. ap·praised, ap·prais·ing, ap·prais·es
1. To evaluate, especially in an official capacity.
2. To estimate the quality, amount, size, and other features of; judge.
[Middle English appreisen, possibly from Old French aprisier, from Late Latin appretire : Latin ad-, ad- + Latin pretium, price]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Origin: 1400–50; late ME apraysen to set a value on, prob. a conflation of aprisen to apprize and preisen to praise (with sense of prize)
Dictionary.com UnabridgedBased on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009

verb (used with object), -prised, -pris⋅ing.
to give notice to; inform; advise (often fol. by of): to be apprised of the death of an old friend.

Origin: 1685–95; appris taught, informed, ptp. of apprendre; see apprehend
[French apprendre, appris-, from Old French aprendre, to learn, from Latin apprehendere, apprēndere; see apprentice.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Word Origin & History
apprise: "to notify," 1694, from Fr. appris, pp. of apprendre "to inform, teach," lit. "to lay hold of (in the mind)," another metaphoric meaning of L. apprehendere (see apprehend).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper


Bonnie said...

i think my brain needs a rest now ...

phew ! that was a lot of information ! good information though ! i don't believe i have ever used apprise in a sentence ! and appraise ... only when i have talked about having something appraised. now, i shall endeavor to use apprise in a sentence. will you give me a prize if i do it correctly ? and does that last sentence count ? ha ha

Anonymous said...

I thought an apprise was when the people revolt?

Than queue force heading me stir eight!