Practice or practise?

22 Jul

This explanation of this particular troublesome pair is very definitely confined to British English.  I will write something about the differences between British and American English on this blog at some stage.  But this one is strictly English.

Again, this can be explained quite simply, although people seem to get in rather a state about it all.  Maybe everyone’s bookmarking these posts so they don’t have to get in a state any more!

Practice is the noun – football practice, Best Practice, these dodgy practices have to stop.

Practise is the verb – Ben is practising his football techniques.  I need to practise making up good examples.  The GP practised handstands in the practice waiting room.

To sum it up in one go: Ben went to football practice to practise his goal-keeping skills.

You can find more troublesome pairs here.


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16 responses to “Practice or practise?

  1. Nic

    July 22, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Thanks a lot for that, it makes it really simple for me to remember!


  2. Stan

    July 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

    One way to remember the difference is to compare the words with advice (n.) and advise (v.), where the pronunciation is differentiated.

    In the expression “Practice makes perfect”, though, I would use the noun, since it’s the act of practising, i.e., practice.


    • Liz at Libro

      July 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Ah – but people get advice and advise wrong too – that’s going to be another troublesome pair post! But yes, theoretically that should help with this one.


      • Stan

        July 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

        That’s true, of course! But I suspect, based on precisely no evidence, that they confuse them significantly less than practice and practise.


    • Liz at Libro

      July 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

      And re: practise makes perfect – I think it could be either, so I’ll make a new example.


      • Liz at Libro

        July 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

        I wouldn’t be surprised at anything. Not with the amount of apologies / apologise and pedalling / peddling (the latter always amazes me. I try not to be judgemental as that’s not how I want to be, but that one??!)


  3. Stan

    July 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I blogged about pedalling vs. peddling after I saw them mixed up on the Guardian website. I saw the same mistake in Discover magazine. The world needs editors!


    • Liz at Libro

      July 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Indeed! Mind you, gives me plenty to write about – I have millions of these stacked up, suggested by blog readers and friends of Libro!


  4. Gary Jones

    July 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The easy way to remember the difference is to look at things alphabetically – c comes before s, just as n(oun) comes before v(erb).


  5. Gill Rose

    July 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Er…I think you mean ‘number’ up there, Liz!!


    • Liz at Libro

      July 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Oh heck – you’re right there. Well, it gives everyone something to do …



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