Practice is a noun (a thing) that refers to ‘the time someone regularly spends on an activity because it’s a habit / custom or they want to get better at it’ – e.g. I go to band practice three times a week. Practise is a verb (an action) that means ‘to repeat an activity in order to master it or because it’s part of a routine / custom’ – e.g. I practise with the band three times a week.
Practice or practise?
For speakers of American English, there is no need to think about this difference because the noun and the verb are the same word (practice with a /c/). For example, Americans can say:
However, if you’re learning British English, it’s a bit more confusing! Practice and Practise are homophones so they sound the same (both are pronounced: ˈpræktɪs). We spell the noun with /c/ (practice) and the verb with /s/ (practise). Here are some examples of correct vs. incorrect usage of practice and practise in British English:
The easiest rule to remember the difference is: practice is a noun and practise is a verb.
Ask yourself: Is it the time you spend on an activity (noun) or is it a repeated action (verb)?
Practice and practise are words that even native speakers confuse! Let’s look at the different meanings and constructions of practice and practise in more detail. Remember, ‘practice makes perfect’!
In many situations, we can choose to use practice (noun) or practise (verb) to express the same thing. To do this, we need to change the sentence construction.
Different word, same meaning:
|Time||Practice (noun)||Practise (verb)|
|Past||I went to basketball practice last week.||I practised basketball last week.|
|Present||I go to dance practice twice a week.||I practise dance twice a week.|
|Future||I will do my piano practice later.||I will practise piano later.|
What does practice mean?
Practice (noun) means: ‘the time regularly spent on an activity’.
Synonyms: habit, preparation, custom, routine.
Set expressions: put into practice, best practice, common practice, practice makes perfect.
As we mentioned before, practice refers to the time we spend on an activity to get better at it or because it’s a set of rules or customs – e.g. It takes a lot of practice to be a good tennis player (time needed to improve) or The practice of prayer is an essential part of worship (a custom).
Examples with practice (noun) in a sentence:
What does practise mean?
Practise (verb) means: ‘to repeat an action in order to master it or because it forms part of a custom, routine or process’.
Synonyms: rehearse, undertake, perfect, review, repeat.
Set expressions: Practise what you preach (to do what you say you are going to do).
As we mentioned above, practise usually means ‘to repeat an activity in order to to improve or master it’ – e.g. I practise basketball every day. Its other common meaning is ‘ to participate in an activity that forms part of a tradition, custom or process’ – e.g. The company staff practise wearing casual dress on Fridays.
Additional meanings: Practise can also mean ‘to work in a highly skilled profession’ – e.g. She practised medicine for 40 years before she retired.
Examples with practise (verb) in a sentence:
Quiz: Practice or practise?
Try these exercises to test your understanding of the differences between practice and practise. Remember, the only way to get better at something is ‘practice, practice, practice’!