Devise Vs. Device - They sound similar. Learn when and how to use each!

In this video we look at two confusing words 'devise' vs. 'device'. Many English students find it difficult to use these two similar words because they have distinct uses. We explain how to use these words correctly using a funny story that provides lots of examples of 'device' and 'devise' in use. Jay asks his team to devise a plan that will help the company improve its sales performance. Annie suggests a new device to Tom and Tom persuades Jay to try it out on a customer. But is it really the device that Annie promises it to be? Many thanks to our friends Annie and Marcelo for helping us create this funny story and their stellar acting performances. We hope to see more of them on screen!

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Hi, everybody. I’m Jay from Simple English Videos. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the words devise and device. Watch how Annie’s plan leaves me horribly embarrassed and Tom in deep trouble again. And now today’s lesson.

No, no, no, no, no, no. Hold it, hold it, hold it. No, no, no, no, no. Oh, 


You are really good at this online football game.

Nah, I was just lucky. Uh oh, the boss is looking over your shoulder.

You two are playing video games on company time? What’s with you guys? Is this what happens every time I leave you to your own devices? We need to increase sales, not play video games.

Sorry, boss. Won’t happen again. 

I need the two of you in a Zoom meeting right now.

Sales are falling. We need a new strategy and a new way to sell our products. And we need it fast.

How can we help?

Annie, you find something, maybe a product or a tool that can boost our sales immediately – something spectacular.

And, Tom, I need you to devise a whole new strategy for the sales team using whatever Annie comes up with.

Do you have any idea of what direction you’d like me to take?

Oh, I have some ideas about this, boss. Let me work with Tom on sales strategy, and we’ll find a new tool to boost sales together.

Okay, team, let’s make it work.

As luck would have it Tom, I already sent you an incredible device each of our sales people can use to get people to buy our stuff. 

What is it?

It’s in a package right under your desk. I left it there yesterday before I headed back to Cambridge.

It’s a football. 

No, that’s the beauty of it. it’s actually the incredible Sales Master 5000. 

It’s a football, not a device to improve sales. 

That’s the trick. Inside is a device that sends signals directly to the brain of the potential buyer and convinces them they need our product. 

What? How does that work?

I have devised a plan to use it. You can teach each of our sales people to press the little barcode. They should press it while aiming the ball at the buyer. That’s how it works. No, no, don’t press it now. I only charged it up with one shot. If you press it now, you won’t be able to show it to Jay.

 Why don’t you show it to Jay?

I would, but I’m not scheduled back in the home office for another month.

You show it to him and describe the strategy we’ve devised. I don’t mind if you take credit for the whole process. Go for it.

Again, with the football. No playing football online or otherwise. Have you devised a sales strategy?

Oh, it’s not a football, boss. It’s an electronic device that sends signals to the buyers brain and convinces them to buy our stuff.

It’s football. 

No, no, no. It’s called the sales Master 5000. And here’s the strategy that I’ve devised. The salesperson then takes this device up to the potential buyer and pushes this box. It sends a signal directly to the buyer’s brain. No, no, no. We don’t want to waste the charge. We’ve only paid for one. S

Hey, Marcello. 

Hey, Jay. Did you come to play football?

Not exactly. You know the products we sell. Would you like to buy one?

Not really. But thanks for the football anyway.


 Annie got me in trouble again.

Right. Let’s get on with the lesson.

These two words –  Device and devise.

Well, both words come from the same Latin origin ‘dividere,’ but they have different meanings. Devise use is a verb. It means to plan something in the mind. It’s similar to invent. It’s a transitive verb, which means that it’s always followed by an object – The thing that’s being devised.

I need you to devise a whole new strategy for the sales team. 

Unless it’s in its participle form – devised.

And here’s the strategy that I’ve devised.

In contrast, device is a noun. It describes a tool, method or technique that is used for a particular purpose. However, it’s most commonly used these days to describe personal electronic gadgets such as a smartphone or a remote control. And you also heard the plural form of device, ‘devices’ in this fixed expression.

Is this what happens every time I leave you to your own devices?

To leave someone to their own devices means that a person is put in a position to do what they want without being controlled or influenced by anyone else. The result could be positive or negative, as we saw with Annie and me. We were playing video games instead of working.

If you still find these two words confusing, just remember that the noun device has the word vice in it, which is also a noun.

And that’s it. We’ll be back soon with another great video lesson, so please remember to subscribe to our channel. 

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Take care, everyone. Bye now.




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