Appraise or apprise?

Appraise and apprise are two verbs - or doing words - that are often confused. It’s partly because they sound similar and partly because they’re both somewhat rare (and potentially pompous sounding…)

So if you are going to use them to show off your vocabulary, do make sure you get them right. Here’s how to remember the difference.

To appraise means to evaluate or estimate the worth of something. For example: 

The first job of the curator will be to appraise the museum’s collection.

In other words, the curator’s first job will be to assess the museum’s collection.

In contrast, apprise means to inform someone of something. So for example:

The prime minister has been apprised of the developing situation. 

In other words, the prime minister has been kept abreast of the situation.

There are a couple of ways to remember the difference between appraise and apprise.

One is to link the verb appraise with the noun appraisal. If you work in a corporate environment, the annual appraisal - where your boss assesses your worth - will be familiar.

Another mnemonic is to associate the extra ‘a’ in appraise with value. If, having appraised something, you consider its value high, then you’d give it an ‘A’.