Ask the Chairman - What is the Correct Spelling of Adviser?

Q. Ray,
I’ve noticed that the word adviser has different spellings in different Scouting programs. Which one is correct?

A. While both spellings are correct, the more common in the US and UK is “adviser”. It is the preferred spelling in the dictionaries. As it applies to Scouting, the Order of the Arrow uses "adviser" while Venturing and Exploring use “advisor” in all literature and on all official position patches. Examples of Order of the Arrow titles are: lodge adviser, chapter adviser, section adviser, associate lodge adviser, associate chapter adviser, associate section adviser, committee adviser, and staff adviser, Examples of Venturing and Exploring titles are: crew advisor, associate crew advisor, post advisor and associate post advisor.

Online, the Grammarist (www.grammarist.com) states: Adviser and advisor are both accepted spellings of the noun meaning one who advises or counsels. There is no difference between them. But adviser, the older version, is listed as the primary spelling in most dictionaries, and it is about five times as common as advisor in current news publications from throughout the English-speaking world. In the U.S. and Canada, advisor is commonly used in official job titles, but adviser is still generally preferred over advisor in North America, and advisor is only marginally more common in American and Canadian English than in other varieties of English. Most major publications, whether in the U.S., the U.K., or elsewhere in the English-speaking world, prefer adviser.

Lawyers prefer to be called "advisors", as in legal advisors. There is also an explanation that E. Urner Goodman preferred “adviser” as it is derived from teacher and that is what he was and what we are – teachers of youth. Relating back to the lawyer preference, this fits nicely since lawyers don’t as a rule "teach".

Hope this helps,
Ray

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