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Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Is it spelled ad or add? Both of these spellings are correct in their own appropriate contexts. Ad and add are homophones, which means that while they sound the same, they are two separate words with individual meanings. This article explains when you should use which word.

Differences in Usage: Ad vs. Add

I will illustrate the difference between the abbreviation ad and the verb add. After providing definitions for each word, I will use them in example sentences to give context for their meanings.

Then, I will leave you with a memory trick to help you choose whether to use add or ad in your future writing.

What Does Ad Mean?

Meaning of Ad: Ad is an abbreviation, which means it is short for another, longer word. In this case, ad is short for advertisement. An advertisement is a public notice intended to create awareness of a product or service and generate sales. An ad can be posted on any number of platforms, such as on the radio, TV, in print, or online.

  • Let’s place an ad in the newspaper to let people know about our bake sale.
  • I want to adopt a black cat because I saw an ad that said they are least likely to be adopted.

Advertisement and its abbreviation ad are both nouns, so you will usually see them preceded by an article, such as “an,” or “the.”

In some cases, ad is used as an adjective, as in “ad campaign.” In these cases, ad is short for advertising.

What Does Add Mean?

Meaning of Add: Unlike ad, which is an abbreviation for advertisement, add is its own word.

Add is a verb, related to the noun addition. It means to combine, or to make an addition. You can add lots of thing, such as numbers, people, or any item or quality that can be increased.

  • When you add three and four, you get seven.
  • Add another cup of flour to the batter.

Add can be used in many contexts. It can mean to combine two or more factors, as in the first two examples. It can also mean to include an additional item or concept with an existing group so as to increase its size, as in the next two examples.

  • We need to add Aunt Twyla to the guest list.
  • The stadium will be adding box seats for additional revenue.

Add vs. Ad: How to Remember the Difference

Ad and add look similar and sound the same, so they’re easy to confuse. One way to keep them straight is to remember the words with which they are associated.

  • Ad is short for ad
  • Add means to make an add

If you can’t remember how advertisement and addition are spelled, either, I have another trick for you.

You can think of add as needing an additional “D.” In other words, it needed to add another “D.” Ad, on the other hand, has only one “D,” and you would have add another one to get add.

Recap: When to Use Ad and Add

Ad and add are two distinct words used in completely different contexts.

  • Ad is a noun. It is an abbreviation for ad. It means a public notice, usually promoting a product, service, or event.
  • Add is a verb. It means to make an add. This is when two or more things are combined, often in the context where a single item increases an existing group.


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