In British English both practise or practice are correct spellings but they are not interchangeable, you need to know when to use each. In American English the word is only spelled one way, practice (with a C, not an S).
So, now we’ve got that covered, let me explain when to use practise and when to use practice.
US English – Practice
In US English the word is only ever spelled practice, so that’s pretty simple. It’s only UK English where things get a bit complicated.
In US English this sentence is correct but in UK English it’s incorrect:
‘I was practicing my backhand at tennis practice this afternoon’
Practice is both a verb and a noun in US English.
UK English – Practise vs Practice
What’s the difference?
Because the British are such a difficult bunch they have made things more complicated by having a difference between when practice is used as a noun or a verb.
And it’s not only the British, the same rule applies in Australian English & Canadian English (who all use what is called International English).
Practice is a noun. – A noun is a person, place, or thing e.g. girl, dog, park.
Practise is a verb. – A verb is an action word e.g. run, walk, fetch.
Here’s an example sentence that uses both terms correctly:
‘I was practising my backhand at tennis practice this afternoon’
Whichever way you are spelling it, practice or practise, it is pronounced the same way. The S or the C at the end sound the same.
Some Examples of Practise vs Practice
Remember the following example sentences only apply in British, Australian and Canadian English because the spelling depends on whether it is a noun (practice) or a verb (practise), in US English the spelling is always practice.
– Practise makes perfect
– I went to the dentists practice yesterday
– I want to practise my English
– I was practising my golf swing on the range
– The head of HR wants to improve workplace practices around discrimination
Is this Rule Consistent
Afraid not, that would be too easy. Take for example Advice or Advise, in both International English and American English Advice is the noun and Advise is the verb.