Advance vs. advanced

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| Grammarist

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| Usage

Advance is the adjective used to describe something that is carried out ahead of time. For instance, if you’re eager to read a soon-to-be-released book, you might make an advance purchase. The participial adjective advanced means (1) at a higher level than others, (2) difficult or complex, and (3) far along. For example, if you’re an advanced mathematician, you might order a book on advanced calculus.

Advanced is often used where advance would make more sense—for example:

But when it comes to advanced warning for dangerous storms … it’s better to be safe then [sic] sorry. [KPTM]

Advanced booking is essential as this programme will be offered to the first 20 athletes applying. [Saffron Walden Reporter]

This mix-up is common, though, and some readers won’t even notice it, so it’s not a serious error.


In these examples, advance and advanced are used in their dictionary-approved senses:

Everybody is invited to attend an advance screening of the movie Bernie on UE’s campus. [WFIE]

This enables academically advanced students to move on faster and bypass the senior slump, when many forget what they have learned. [Wall Street Journal’s The Juggle blog]

Fishermen said they always gave advance notice of their activities to authorities. [News24]

Then there’s Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace company, which deploys advanced avionics and fly-by-wire technology. [Washington Post]

24 thoughts on “Advance vs. advanced”

    • In this case, we relied on our own research, which involved looking at lots of examples of the words in action, and nothing in any of the dictionaries or usage guides we checked for confirmation suggested that our conclusion was inaccurate.

  1. I’m very happy with “advanced warning”. It’s a warning that has been advanced in time. I asked my wife which she would say, and she said that she would prabably say “advance warning”, but would feel guilty about lazily dropping the “d” that obviously should be there.

      • Not at all,
        “Warning! ROAD CLOSED AHEAD!”
        “Advanced warning: Road ahead will be closed from 2.00 am to 6.00 am on Friday 12th October”

        • Why do you need to say “advance” here? A warning already means it’s beforehand. (Your case is especially true: if this is a road sign, let’s use as few words as possible.)

          Of course, this isn’t even in the spirit of the original question, which was advance vs. advanced.

          • To tell people that the situation warned about is future, not current, of course. They need as few urgent messages to deal with as possible when driving. It takes a bit of pressure off you if you know that it’s an advanced warning rather than a warning of a current situation that must be evaluated before proceeding.

            We’ve had “advanced warning” signs in Britain all my (long) life. I saw an “advance warning” sign once a few months ago. Having forgotten about this article, my wife and I stopped to discuss the mistake, which we took to be a spell-as-you-hear error. While we were doing so, another couple who were passing by pointed it out to each other and looked surprised by it.

          • This must be the issue, American vs. British usage, although I do see “advanced” often here and it strikes me as wrong. I’m trying to figure out the grammatical root as much as which one is actually correct. “Advance” to me already says future, so you don’t need to add the “d”. Ah well. Cheers!

  2. I see advance vs advanced as two totally different words, two totally different meanings. “Advanced warning” doesn’t make sense unless it’s some high-tech notification device. It’s an advance warning, as one that happens ahead of time, although when you think about it “advance warning” is actually redundant, because you don’t need a warning at all if it doesn’t come beforehand.

    It’s far more common, say, to talk about “Advance directives.” I’ve seen it wrong (“advanced directives) so often I looked to Google to see if I was crazy.

    I believe this is a fairly fundamental error.

    • ” I’ve seen it wrong (“advanced directives) so often I looked to Google to see if I was crazy. / I believe this is a fairly fundamental error.”

      So you think Google is entitled to tell millions of people using their own language in a perfectly logical and regular way that they are making “a fairly fundamental error”!


    • “”Advanced warning” doesn’t make sense unless it’s some high-tech notification device.”


      I mean, seriously, what on Earth do you mean? Would you like to read that claim again and consider whether it makes any sense at all? If you think that “advance warning” makes sense, how can you possibly claim that the more logical “advanced warning”, with exactly the same meaning, doesn’t make sense because of some fact about the limitations of technology?

  3. “This mix-up is common, though, and some readers won’t even notice it, so it’s not a serious error”. So, finally the truth – you don’t really mind about grammar as long as people get the rough idea! How about another website

    • This site is about reporting how English-speakers use their language rather than making pronouncements about what’s right and wrong (there are plenty of other resources for that), although I understand that the name “Grammarist” can give the wrong impression about our intent. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with it at this point.

    • It would depend on what you mean. If the piping course is at an advanced level, it’s Advanced Piping Course (advanced describes the course). If it is a Piping Course you are giving ahead of time, possibly before they take the course at the normal time, then it would be Advance Piping Course (advance describes the time frame).

    • “Advanced” should be OK for everyone, because it only depends on knowing the verb “advance” and the grammatical rule for making adjectives out of past participles. All English speakers know that word and that rule.

      It seems that some (but certainly far from all) English speakers have in their active vocabulary an adjective “advance” as well as the verb “to advance” and the noun “an advance”. (I don’t, and neither does anyone I have spoken to about it.) Such people have the option of saying “advance warning” as well as “advanced warning”. People like me who wouldn’t use the “advance” version ourselves might think that it sounds irritating and awful, but we wouldn’t be rude enough to tell someone who used that version that they were committing an error. It’s their language, too.

      It seems from the comments on this page that there are some intolerant people who insist that, because their idiolect of English allows them to say “advance warning”, they must only ever use that version, and everyone else must fall into line, too,

      My advice to you is to use whichever version comes naturally to you. If any Grammar Nazi tells you that you are making an error, tell them exactly what they can do with their totally unjustified arrogance.

  4. I can’t believe that people are still talking about this, and taking seriously the idea that “advanced warning” and similar are errors, or even “serious errors”, when they are perfectly standard uses of a past participle. (The warning has been advanced in time, which despite some weird comments above, is not a tautology.)

    Maybe it’s a US/UK thing. All the people I’ve asked about it over here think “advance warning” is either a lazy solecism, or a warning of an advance.

    But even if “advance warning” is preferred in the US as an idiom, how can that make it incorrect to put two words together in a perfectly normal way to get a perfectly understandable phrase?


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