practice and practise - the difference

In the US, you can use practice for noun and verb. In the UK, you must use practice for the noun, and practise for the verb. For example:
  • Shall I practice my handwriting? () ()
  • Practice makes perfect. () ()
Some in the US are now following the UK convention. So:
  • Shall I practise my handwriting? () ()

Practice and Practise

There is often confusion over the words practice and practise. In order to understand which to use, you must know the difference between a noun and a verb. This is because practice is a noun, but practise is a verb.

If you follow US convention, you don't need to worry about this as you can use practice for both noun and verb. If you follow UK convention and you're not sure how to spot nouns and verbs, there are tricks you can use to help you. See Hot Tip right.)

  • You need more practice.
  • ("practice" - noun)
    (Using the trick shown in the Hot Tip: "You need more preparation." This sounds okay. Therefore, practice is correct.)
  • You should practise more.
  • ("practise" – verb)
    (Using the trick shown in the Hot Tip: "You should prepare more." This sounds okay. Therefore, practise is correct.)

    should be "practises" not "practices"
    (magazine clipping)

  • They practice in the office for 10 weeks and are then sent out.
  • (Using the trick shown in the Hot Tip: "They preparation in the office for 10 weeks..."
    This is nonsense. Therefore, practice is wrong. It should be practise. Using the substitution method shown in the Hot Tip, it would be: "They prepare in the office...")
  • Keep practicing that stroke until the whistle blast.  
Select the correct version:



Try using the word preparation (or lessons) instead of practice. If the sentence still makes sense, then practice is almost certainly correct.
(This trick works because practice is a noun, just like the words preparation and lessons.)


Try using the verb to prepare (in its various forms, e.g., preparing, prepared, prepares) instead of practise. If the sentence still makes sense, then practise is almost certainly correct. However, if you find yourself trying to use preparation, then you should be using practice because both are nouns.
(This trick works because to practise is a verb, just like to prepare.)


There should be no confusion with practising or practised. These are always verbs.


Whilst many in the US have adopted practise as the verb and practice as the noun, it is acceptable to use practice for both noun and verb in American English.

  • I must keep practising/practicing that accent.
  • (Both versions are acceptable in American English.)

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