Mighty Red Pen

February 7, 2010

Coming to their rescue: Aid vs. aide

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:53 pm

This little tidbit spotted on eonline.com:

Okay, so here’s the deal. If you mean assistant (helper), then the word you want is aide. If you mean assistance (help), then the word you want is aid.

Someone should have been a better aide to this proofreader and offered them some editorial aid.

Brians Common Errors weighs in, also more here. And over at Sentence Sleuth, gimlet eyes spotted this same error in the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie, of all places.



  1. I caught that Sherlock Holmes misspelling, too. I spread the word via Twitter and was surprised that 99 percent of the responses were *defenses* of the “aide” spelling. “It’s cute and old-timey!” was the most frequent rationalization–like “olde shoppe,” I guess they thought.

    Comment by Fritinancy — February 8, 2010 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  2. I am dealing with this issue right now. I searched for “aide vs. aid” and up pops MRP! So a “visual aide” would be assisting with something, so it would be a-i-d-e. Correct?

    Comment by Gopher — October 6, 2011 @ 7:37 am | Reply

    • Actually, if you mean that you’re giving someone visual assistance (rather than that you are being a visual assistant), then you would want “visual aid.”

      Comment by mighty red pen — October 6, 2011 @ 7:49 am | Reply

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