Notify VS Notice – Easily confused English

NOTIFY vs NOTICE? Have you ever confused these verbs? Here is a simple breakdown to explain the basic difference.

  • notify – verb – to formally or officially tell somebody about something
  • notice – verb – to see or hear somebody/something; to become aware of somebody/something

Notify VS Notice – Easily confused English

Below is a story that will explain how to use these words correctly with lots of natural examples.

Recently one of my private students confused the verbs notify and notice.

He told me:

“The car rental company didn’t notice me to confirm my reservation.” X

This is not natural English, and it has a completely different meaning than what he wanted to say.

“The car rental company didn’t notify me to confirm my reservation.” 

This sentence is correct.

I can see why this can be an easy mistake. Let me explain the difference with the definitions and some simple example sentences.

Notify VS Notice

Notify

    Click for pronunciation
notifyverb – to formally or officially tell somebody about something

“You must notify us in writing if you wish to cancel your subscription.”

“The car rental company didn’t notify me to confirm my reservation.”

notify VS notice - We can notify you by letter, email or telephone.

We can notify you by letter, email or telephone.

Notice

    Click for pronunciation
noticeverb – to see or hear somebody/something; to become aware of somebody/something

“The first thing I noticed about the room was the smell.”

“Did you notice how Rachel kept looking at her watch? I think she wants to leave.”

notify VS notice - Did you notice how Rachel kept looking at her watch?

Learn English Reported Speech English grammar.

The meanings of these two verbs are quite different so I think the confusion comes from another place. Please look at one of the definitions for the NOUN notice.

noticenoun – a sheet of paper giving written or printed information, usually put in a public place

*Notices are often official announcements.

“There was a notice on the board saying the class had been cancelled.”

“A public notice about the planned development was pinned to the wall.”

The verb notify is to officially tell someone some information. This meaning also has an official feeling so this is why these two words are often confused by non-native speakers.

Notice Vs Notify – Conclusion

If you need to tell someone giving or receiving official information you need to use the verb notify.

“My credit card company notified me that my card was used online in Australia. I think someone has stolen my credit card number!”

If you use the noun notice it will often follow an article (A, AN, or THE) and you will be talking about a document that is displayed somewhere for people to see.

“There is a notice on the wall of my bank warning people to protect their credit card information.”

Thanks for reading my post and I hope that it answers your question about these two commonly confused English words.

Special thanks to www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com for their clear definitions and helpful example sentences!

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