Aid vs. Aide – Difference, Meaning & Examples

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Homophones confuse people everywhere. These words that sound the same, are spelled differently, and mean different things are among the most frustrating words in the English language, especially if you are a language learner.

But homophones don’t have to be a pain. With some simple instructions, you can easily learn the difference between word pairs that may at first look confusing.

Aid and aide are great examples of this. Although many people confuse them, they mean two different things, and their proper use is important in order to be concise in your writing. We’ve offered a guide to help you understand their use below.

What’s the Difference Between Aid and Aide?

httpsgrammarist.comspellingaid aide

An aide is an assistant or helper. The word is always a noun and refers to a person who is tasked as a source of assistance.

Aid is a noun referring to (1) assistance or (2) something that assists (e.g., a hearing aid or a visual aid), and it’s also a verb meaning to assist. Some dictionaries list aid as a variant of aide, but the words are generally kept separate in edited writing.

Aid Definition, Meaning, and Use

As a noun, aid means the assistance given or an item that helps assist. It can also work as an adjective to provide more detail to another noun.

For example:

  • Be sure to check for any financial aid that might be available for your summer courses.
  • The aid provided was exactly what the cold and hungry workers needed after such a long night.
  • The new hospital was created to specifically provide aid to burn victims.
  • The EMT rendered aid to the stranded motorists after their accident.
  • The company provided the monetary aid needed for the new training center to open.
  • Her new hearing aids made everything sound clear and understandable.
  • The office wanted to provide the support needed to stock the aid station.

As a verb, aid means to be actively assisting.

For example:

  • The teacher aided the students during their research attempts.
  • He was aiding the victims of the earthquake when he received news that more backup help was arriving.
  • Her game-winning goal was aided by a defensive line teammate.

Aide Definition, Meaning, and Use

An aide is a person, assistant, or helper that is providing a helpful service of some type. There are many different kinds of aides.

For example:

  • I put in a request for classroom aides but ended up having to share one with another teacher for the year instead.
  • The office aide was responsible for filing the mail and making sure all supplies were in stock.
  • She applied for the aide position at the law firm so she could get exposure to how the busy office worked.
  • Our military aides are responsible for high-clearance information. 
  • The club’s presidential aide had to ensure the filing of all new applicants was complete before the end of every fiscal year. 

Origin of Aid and Aide

Aid vs. Aide Ngram
Aid and aide usage trend.

Both words are derived from closely related French sources, but they entered English at different times. Aid came to English in the 15th century (and had several spellings in early use) and has borne a variety of meanings over the centuries. Aide entered English slightly later, possibly as a shortened form of aide-de-camp, which refers to a military officer who assists a superior.

It is important to note that aide has long been accepted as a substitute for aid in writing since its use is easy to discern. However, many argue this is a misuse and should not be done.

Let’s Review

Aide vs. aid might be confusing to some people. They are homophones or words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings and spellings. Aid can be used as a noun or verb to mean help that is given or the act of the assistance provided. Aide is a noun and refers to the position or person that provides aid.

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