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I (think) I know the difference between practise (verb) and practice (non-verb).

However, I am not sure which form I should use in cases like the following ones:

I love practising the guitar.
You can try practising with this.

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The question is tagged "British English". This answer addresses British English.

Practice is a noun. Practise is a verb. A participle is a verbal form so would use s, whether that is practised or practising.

Even when the word is a gerund (which functions as a noun), it's identical in form to the present participle so it uses an s.

My practising the piano upset the neighbours.

The neighbours dug a tunnel to escape from my piano practice.

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Hmm. The pond-divide strikes again? My browser thinks "practising" is misspelled, and wants to correct it to "practicing"; which matches my experience. –  Marthaª May 17 '13 at 13:57
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@LyK: only if you're in England, apparently. –  Marthaª May 17 '13 at 13:58
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Most Americans are unaware of any distinction, thank gods, and simply think of practise as a British variant spelling, like tyre. –  John Lawler May 17 '13 at 14:03
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At least the BrE rule is nice and simple. It's always open to others to add a complementary answer for American English, preferably marking it explicitly as such because the question is specifically tagged "British English". –  Andrew Leach May 17 '13 at 14:05
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@TrevorD: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Here's a link and entry showing that the verb practice is used in the US: prac·tise (prkts) v. & n. Chiefly British Variant of practice. thefreedictionary.com/practise You can confirm this by looking up practice. –  Edwin Ashworth May 17 '13 at 21:42
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