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21st November, 2022Owens Ooi

English Common Mistake: Practise or Practice

English grammar can be tricky, but don't worry, we're here to help. In this post, we'll cover the difference between the words "practice" and "practise" and when to use each.

Practice or Practise Meanings

Basically, if it is based on their role as words, the two vocabularies have the same forms: they can act either as a verb or noun. Also, these two words do not have different meanings. According to the definition presented by the dictionary, the meaning of this word as a noun refers to 'a habit that is carried out repeatedly with the aim of mastering something'. Meanwhile, if they are present as a verb, this word indicates 'activity in carrying out the habit of mastering things'.


Practice or Practise Difference

Their point of differences can certainly be seen from their writing: only distinguished by one letter. This is an indication of the difference between American English and British English styles. In American English, the word 'practice' is used both as a noun and verb. This is different in British English where 'practise' is used for the verbs, while the 'practice' for the nouns. With such a tendency, 'practice' is more often identified as the American variant, while 'practise' is more likely to be known as the British variant.


When compared with the frequency of its use in the printed media (books, magazines, articles, newspapers, etc.), the word 'practise' was more commonly used around the 1600s. As time goes by into the modern era, the frequency of its use is decreasing. This is different from the word 'practice' which was commonly used in the 1500s, and is coming along with the age advancement. The implication of those data states that the American variant (practice) is used more often than the British (practise). It is not so surprising, seeing the American is somehow simpler to use.

Examples of Practise or Practice

What other words have the -ice and -ise endings?

Based on the practise or practice concept above, there are several "pairs" of words that you can find. Some of them such as ‘cotice-cotice’, ‘advise-advice’, and ‘misadvise-misadvice’. Still, there are a lot of words out there with such a similar pattern. Although not all of them apply exactly the same as the main discussion in this article, all of these words are consistent with one fact: their existence is a phenomenon derived from the differences between American and British styles. Indeed, this language aspect does not play a significant role in language activities. But, students still need to understand that. That way, their language skills become much richer and proper.

Why do “-ice” and “-ise” vary in different situations?

The existence of such differences in word endings can be explained by historical facts that have been described by experts. There have been many efforts made by earlier linguists in creating linguistic rules that apply to a formal scope. These efforts have, more or less, affected the variants in English. One of the best known efforts is that of Noah Webster. As the father of American spelling, he is responsible for the birth of a distinct American style. This is also what ultimately contributes to the existence of '-ice' and '-ise' words ending.

In a nutshell

There is a certain complexity in learning a foreign language - this also applies to English. Many people even take years to just be fluent and native like. But this fact is not something to worry about, because difficult does not mean impossible! To increase the level of success and effectiveness of your learning, we at Big Ben Academy can certainly help! As one of the best, we can help you master English faster. We have designed the right courses to suit your individual needs. So hurry up and join us! Free Your Mind and Speak with Sparks, with Big Ben Academy Malaysia!

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