Practice or Practise?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Practice" and "Practise"?

"Practice" and "practise" are easy to confuse if you're following UK writing conventions. ("Practise" is not used in the US.)

For American English:
  • Use "practice" for everything.
For British English:
  • Use "practice" for the noun.
  • Use "practise" for the verb.

Examples with "Practice" and "Practise"

These examples show how "practice" and "practise" are used in the UK and US:
  • Practice makes perfect. () ()
  • (Here, "practice" is a noun.)
  • Shall I practice my handwriting? () ()
  • Shall I practise my handwriting? () ()
  • (These two examples feature verbs.)
NB: Some in the US are starting to follow the UK convention.
practice practise UK US
This infographic shows how "practice" and "practise" are used in the UK and US.

More about "Practice" and "Practise"

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "practice" and "practise."

Some Help for Brits

Tricks To Spot "Practice" and "Practise"

If you're following UK writing conventions and you're unsure how to identify nouns and verbs, you can use the substitution tricks below.

A Trick To Spot "Practice" and "Practise"

Try using "prepare" in its various forms (e.g., "preparation," "prepare", "prepares," "preparing," "prepared"). If you're drawn to "preparation," then you need "practice" because both are nouns. If the sentence still makes sense with another version of "prepare," then use the corresponding version of "practise." (This trick works because, apart from "preparation," all the forms of "prepare" are from the verb "to prepare.")

Example Sentences with "Practice" and "Practise"

Here, for the Brits, are some examples with "practice" and "practise."

Example 1:
  • You need more practice.
  • (Here, "practice" is a noun.)
Try the substitution trick:
  • You need more preparation.
  • (This sounds okay. Therefore, "practice" is correct. NB: "Preparation" and "practice" are both nouns.)
Example 2:
  • You should practise more.
  • (Here, "practice" is a verb.)
Try the substitution trick:
  • You should prepare more.
  • (This sounds okay. Therefore, "practise" is correct. NB: "Prepare" and "practise" are both verbs.)
Example 3:
  • They practice in the office for 10 weeks before being sent into the real world.
Try the substitution trick:
  • They prepare in the office for 10 weeks before being sent into the real world.
  • (You haven't used "preparation," so "practice" must be wrong. It should be "practise" because "prepare" sounds okay.)
Example 4:
  • Keep practising that stroke until the whistle blast.
Try the substitution trick:
  • Keep preparing that stroke until the whistle blast.
  • (This sounds okay. Therefore, "practising" is correct. NB: "Preparing" and "practising" are both formed from verbs.)

A Wrong Example from a Magazine

As this came from a British publication, it should say "practises" not "practices."
practice wrongly used as a verb
(And, yeah, it's not his best side!)

"Practicing" and "Practiced" Do Not Exist in British English

In the UK, there should be no confusion with "practising" or "practised" as these are words formed from the verb "to practise." In other words, for Brits, the words "practicing" and "practiced" do not exist. Look at this example:
  • I must keep practicing that accent. () ()

A Video Summary

Watch a video showing 10 big differences between British English and American English.

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words

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