Grammar Guru: “Practise” Or “Practice”


Grammar Guru

This week, the Grammar Guru sets sights on two words that cause a lot of confusion.

In fact, a lot of people use “practise” and “practice” interchangeably, or even randomly, but really there is no need ever to pick the wrong one again.

All you need to do is learn a very simple rule . . .

In a nutshell, “practice” is a noun, and “practise” is a verb. Simple! But what if you are unsure of the difference between a noun and a verb?

A noun is a naming word. If you’re talking about doing a bit of “practice” to perfect your piano-playing, or visiting your local “practice” to see your doctor, you need “practice” with a “c”.

A verb is a doing word. If you’re talking about the need to “practise” your piano-playing, or noting that your doctor “practises” medicine, you need “practise” with an “s”.

Preparation Instead Of Practice

Still unsure? Here’s a clever little trick to help you. Try using the word “preparation” in your sentence instead of “practice”:

You need more practice/You need more preparation – it still makes sense, so “practice” with a “c” is correct.

For “practise” with an “s”, try substituting the verb “to prepare”:

You should practise more/You should prepare more – “practise” with an “s” is correct.

And just to double check: “You should preparation more” makes absolutely no sense, confirming that “practise” is the correct spelling in this instance.

For more from the Grammar Guru, click the tag below.

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Angela Gilchrist

Angela is Editor-in-Chief of “The People’s Friend” magazine. Her passions include cats, Highland ponies, good books, vegetarian food and long walks in the Scottish countryside. Her favourite place to get away from it all is the magical Isle of Skye.