Aid and Aide are two words in English that sound the same and have very similar meanings, making it hard to figure out when to use one or the other.
The difference is important though, because one is a verb (an action) that means to help while the other is always a person who works as an assistant. It might not seem like a huge difference, but it's the kind of subtle distinction that sets apart beginners from more advanced English speakers.
Once we go over each word and check out some examples, you should have no problem remembering the difference!
The past tense of aid is aided
Aid as a noun means help or assistance. There are a number of more specific ways that it can be used though.
For example, aid can refer to the assistance that one country gives to another, usually in the form of money or something useful like medical supplies.
Aid also means something or someone that is a source of help, like a dietary aid, such as Vitamin D or Iron, which people will sometimes take extra amounts of because they do not get enough from their food in order to be healthy.
As a verb, aid means "to help or assist." You can aid someone else by giving them food when they are hungry, for example, or just by helping them in any way.
The word aide is an easy one to remember and use, because it only has one definition. Aide is a noun and it refers to someone who works as an assistant to someone else, usually an important person.
The plural form of aide is aides.
The word originally referred to military aides, who would assist higher ranking officers. There are many different kinds of aides though. Congressional aides assist government officials like senators. Nurse's aides help nurses take care of their patients. A teacher's aide is another common type of aide.
Remember that aid can be a noun that means help or assistance, but it can also be a verb that means "to help" someone or something. Aide, on the other hand, can only be a noun and is always a person who works as an assistant to someone.
Since aide is always a person there will usually be an article to go with it, like "the" aide or "an" aide. Just look for those articles and you will know that they mean aide as in an assistant and not aid, which means help.
Edwin is a very good student. He likes to use his skills in math and science to aid other students who are not doing well. He tutors them and gives them the aid that they need to pass their classes.
Sometimes Edwin is so busy aiding other students that he forgets to do his own homework, and has to stay up late to finish it. He thinks that maybe he should hire an aide to do some of his work for him while he helps other people.
When Edwin is not aiding others, he likes to watch the news and see what is happening in the world. He sees that there is a flood in one town and they are asking for aid from the government to fix everything.
He sees injured people in the hospital being aided by nurse's aides with first aid kits. Edwin thinks that maybe he would like to have that job so that he can be of aid to people who really need his aid.
Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.
Part 1: 1. C | 2. B | 3. D | 4. D
Part 2: 1. A | 2. B | 3. D | 4. A | 5. C | 6. B