Word Choice: Guise vs. Guys | Proofed’s Writing Tips

Word Choice: Guise vs. Guys

“Guise” and “guys” are homophones, which means they sound the same but have different meanings. So, what do they mean? In this post, we’ll explain their differences so you won’t get them mixed up in your writing.

Guise (External Appearance)

You’d use the word “guise” when referring to someone’s or something’s outward appearance, especially when it hides a real identity:

The thief entered the building in the guise of a plumber.

They sold marijuana under the guise of a cake shop.

“Guise” is always singular, though. The plural form is “guises.”

Guys (Plural of Guy)

The singular noun “guy” is usually an informal word for “man”:

My hairdresser is a friendly guy.

More rarely, it can be a rope or cable that keeps something (e.g., a tent) in place:

Be careful not to trip over that guy.

And, in the UK, it can refer to a dummy of Guy Fawkes, a conspirator in the English gunpowder plot of 1605. These are traditionally burned in bonfires as part of Fireworks Night. And since they are named for a person, this type of “Guy” is usually capitalised. For example:

The Guy was thrown into the flames, and then the fireworks began.

In all of these cases, the plural of “guy” is “guys.” And although the singular “guy” usually refers to a man, the plural “guys” can refer to a mixed-gender group:

The guys at Proofed are awesome!

In all cases, though, the spelling “guys” (with an “s” at the end) is a plural.

Word Choice: Guise or Guys?

Like we mentioned, these two words have the same sound but different meanings.

  • Guise is a singular noun that usually refers to a misleading appearance.
  • Guys is a plural noun and usually means “a group of people.”

Keep in mind, too, that “guise” has a similar meaning to “disguise.” If you’re referring to something that “disguises” something, then, you’ll need “guise.”

Hopefully, you feel confident now about using “guise” and “guys” in your writing. If you need any more help with word choice, our proofreaders are always available. You can even get your first 500-word document proofread for free.

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