Practice or Practise?

These two words can be confusing, the spelling is similar and the pronunciation is identical, but they are used differently depending on where you live.

With British English ‘Practice’ is a noun, and ‘Practise’ is a verb. British English speaking countries include the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa.

In the US and Canada, it is most common to use ‘Practice’ for both the noun and the verb.

Practice (Noun)

The noun ‘Practice’ means to get better at something through repeated attempts, be it a skill or profession. It may also refer to a business where a professional service is provided, a doctor, dentist or lawyer most commonly.


‘I have finished football practice.’ Here, ‘finished’ is the verb, and ‘practice’ is the noun.

‘It's good practice to wash your hands before eating.’ Here, practice means the established way of doing something.

‘My doctor's practice is very good.’ The verb in this sentence is ‘is’, and the noun is ‘the practice’.

‘Practice makes perfect.’ - This common saying means the more you practice something, the better you'll get.

‘You need more practice, that sounded terrible.’ Here, someone is not very good at something, and they must try repeatedly - through practice.

Practise (Verb)

The verb means the action of repeatedly doing the same thing in order to get better, or to stay just as good at something.


‘He practised the song all weekend and is really good now.’ Here, he has sung the song over and over until he has improved, and has become proficient.

‘I'm getting better at golf, I've been practising my putting a lot.’ Here, the act of ‘putting’ has been repeated until the man or woman thinks they have become better.

‘Why don't you practise what you preach?’ This English saying means you should do what you tell others to do. For example, if you tell someone lying is wrong, you shouldn't tell lies yourself.

‘He practises the piano for two hours a day.’ Here, the piano is played every day in order for someone to improve or maintain their level.

Remember: When following British spelling, use ‘practise’ for the verb, and ‘practice’ for the noun.

Exercises (using British English):

1. She's been a ________ doctor for many years now; her medical ________ is in the centre of town.

2. I've been ___________ for two weeks now, a little more ________ and I'll be perfect.

3. I always loved playing the piano. I ________ for nearly two hours a day when I was younger

4. The British Government decided the suggested changes were too complicated to put into ________.

5. If you really want this job, it would be best to get a friend to interview you to _______ with.

Answers: 1. practising, practice 2. practising, practice 3. practised 4. practice 5. practise

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