Angela’s ABCs: words often confused – appraise and apprise by Angela Caldin

I often hear these two words confused and though I wrote about them a few years ago, I’m doing a repeat explanation here. The problem seems to be that people will often use the verb to appraise when they mean to apprise. This rarely seems to happen the other way around, i.e., using apprise instead of appraise. It may be that this mistake occurs because some people are unaware that to apprise even exists – it’s a very formal sort of word.


The verb to appraise means to assess or to evaluate.

    • We inspect and appraise pre-owned vehicles before putting them on sale.
    • Managers appraise their staff against criteria set out in their annual appraisal.
    • I decided to have my father’s war medals appraised by an expert in militaria.



The verb to apprise means to inform, to tell, to advise or to notify.

  • Please apprise the patient of the outcome of yesterday’s meeting.
  • Managers apprise their staff of objectives in the terms of reference.
  • The expert apprised me of the medals’ value by return of post.

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