Practise vs Practice—What’s the Difference?

Writers and editors always need to be on top of the correct usage of similar words. Failure to understand the correct usage can mean compromising the meaning of a sentence, or even potentially an entire piece. One common pair of words that causes confusion is practise vs practice.

Today, we’ll break down the differences between the two terms and give clear definitions, examples, and guidelines for when to use each. Understanding the distinctions between practise and practice will help you enhance the quality of your writing, so let’s explore the nuances of these words and how to use them effectively.

What Is Practise?

Practise is a verb for the act of performing an activity or exercise regularly to improve or maintain one’s proficiency. It can also mean carrying out or performing a particular activity, method, or custom habitually or regularly.

If you need to refer to the act of doing something again and again, to get better at it, or carrying out an activity as a repeated habit, you should use the verb practise. The term is very common in the UK and other countries that follow British English rules.

How to Use Practise in a Sentence

Here are a few examples that will help you understand the correct usage of practise:

1. To become a proficient piano player, you need to practise every day.

2. He believes in the saying “practise makes perfect” and never misses his guitar lessons.

3. She has made it a point to practise yoga first thing in the morning.

In all these sentences, practise is used to refer to the action of doing an activity repeatedly to maintain or improve skill. The term practise lends more to the repetition of an action, with the aim of improvement.

What Is Practice?

Practice is a noun and refers to the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories related to it. It is also used to indicate the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.

In American English, practice also functions as a verb, fulfilling the same role as practise in British English. Thus, for American English speakers, practice is used in both noun and verb forms.

How to Use Practice in a Sentence

To illustrate the correct usage of practice, consider these examples:

1. It’s a common practice in many cultures to remove shoes before entering a house.

2. She opened her legal practice right after law school.

3. I need more practice before the soccer match next week.

In the above examples, practice is used to denote a custom, business, or the act of rehearsing something.

When to Use Practise vs. Practice

The difference between practise and practice is largely a matter of geography. If you’re writing for a British English audience, use practise as a verb and practice as a noun. For an American English audience, use practice for both. It’s also worth mentioning that, for some countries or dialects (Canada is one of the more popular examples), many have switched to simply using practice for both, even if they otherwise follow British English spelling conventions.

Examples of Situations for Each Term

If you’re talking about rehearsing an action or regularly performing an activity, and writing in British English, use practise. For example, “I practise the violin every day.”

If you’re referring to a normal or accepted way of doing things, you should use practice, regardless of your audience, such as: “Brushing your teeth twice a day is good practice.”

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

One common mistake is using practise as a noun or practice as a verb in British English. Remember that practice is a noun, and practise is a verb.

Tips for Remembering the Usage

A handy tip to remember the difference involves breaking the words down. When you use the noun practice, try to remember that it contains the noun ice inside of it. Ice is a noun, and so is a practice.

Make Practising the Right Spelling a Common Practice

The difference in the usage of practise vs practice depends on geographical location and whether the term is being used as a verb or a noun. By using these terms appropriately, you show a higher degree of understanding and proficiency in English. For more tips and tools to improve your writing, check out EditorNinja on our website today.