Practise or Practice – how to spell it?

practising a puzzle

Is the word Practise, or should it be Practice ?

Another small but significant difference between English and American English.

In the U.K. (also possibly in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada), we spell the word ‘Practice’ as a NOUN using a C (e.g. a Doctor’s practice, meaning his business or clinic), but we spell the VERB ‘to Practise’ with an S (For example: Practising your English vocabulary).

Similar words:

This follows the same principle as ‘advice’ (noun) and ‘to advise’ (verb). When you give someone ‘advice’, you are ‘advising’ them. Another example is the noun ‘device’ (an object which is made for a particular purpose, for example: A T.V. remote control is a device for turning on the television,) and the verb ‘to devise’ (which means to invent something or to form a plan in your mind, for example: He devised a way to cross the river without getting wet.)


To get back to the point however, in American English, when we write the word Practice, the C spelling is generally used for both the noun and the verb. So, to be absolutely correct in your English you should make a mental note of this; but if you find it difficult to remember, these days it is usually considered O.K. to use the C spelling for both.

More examples:
The practice = noun To practise = verb
The practice of playing well. To practise playing tennis.
I have finished my piano practice. I enjoy practising the piano.
The lawyer’s practice is in the town centre. He has been practising there for years.

So if you want to speak fluently and correctly for the country you are in, you should check out the differences between the English that we speak in Britain, and the English that is spoken in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and the many other countries that speak this language throughout the world.

Related Content:

British and American
Comparison of American and British English.
List of countries where English is spoken.

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