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Which use of practised is correct, if any?

I practised my singing.

I practised at singing.

I practised singing.

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2  
What is the difference between your first and third options? –  ShreevatsaR Oct 17 '11 at 12:32
    
Sorry... I asked this as soon as I woke up. A little tired, perhaps? –  Mahnax Oct 17 '11 at 14:37
    
@JasperLoy Noted. –  Mahnax Oct 17 '11 at 14:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I practised my singing.

The 'my' is not technically incorrect, as far as I know, but is superfluous. It would be difficult to practice someone else's singing :)

I practised at singing.

One can become practiced at something, as a passive verb, but to practice at something directly is not grammatically correct.

I practised singing.

This is the preferred usage.

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I practised my singing.

I would use this if it's clear from the context what exactly you were singing. For instance a piece my teacher assigned to me or something I sing on a regular base.

I practised at singing.

This sounds wrong to me. "At" should be used for the location you were practising at. I practised singing at school.

I practised singing.

That's how I usually use it.

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8  
Don't agree about the first one: it doesn't suggest to me a particular piece. But it does suggest that the practice is particularly 'mine' - either something I do regularly, or something a teacher has assigned me. I agree about the others. –  Colin Fine Oct 17 '11 at 14:23
3  
I agree with @Colin that including my implies the speaker already sings, or has at least just been assigned the activity. –  FumbleFingers Oct 17 '11 at 17:00
    
Thank you for your comments, Colin and Fumble. I edited my reply. –  Raku Oct 19 '11 at 11:06

The are two words for the word practice.

  • Practice - the noun form has a c
  • Practise - the verb form has a s

Below are correct examples of how to use the two terms.

  • tickI went to singing practice today.
  • tickI want to practise my singing today.

In one of your three examples, you used the word incorrectly.

  • tick I practised my singing.
  • cross I practised at singing.
  • tick I practised singing.

The usage of the word at, makes the word singing feel like a noun, which it isn't.

How is it possible to practise at singing? How is it possible to trip at walking? You can trip your walking? You can trip walking? But you cannot trip at walking!

The word at is a preposition, so it shouldn't be used in that manner, because prepositions are used for nouns.

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The first part of your answer doesn't apply to the question. I already knew that stuff, hence the usage of the correct word in the examples. You haven't really specified if "at" is a correct usage or not, maybe edit your answer to apply as much as possible? –  Mahnax Oct 19 '11 at 14:28
1  
Actually, singing is used here as a gerund, which is a noun form of the verb. I am not sure if using at here is wrong or not, but if it is, I think it would not be for the reasons you exposed. –  yms Oct 19 '11 at 16:52
    
@yms Are you sure that the word singing is used as a noun? Mahnax talked about practising singing (verb) in the examples, as in the act of singing, not the place of signing (noun). –  desbest Oct 19 '11 at 17:57
    
Yes, I am sure. I am not a native English speaker but gerunds are the same in many languages including mine (Spanish). Here is an example of "the act of singing" being mentioned as a gerund in a website about English grammar: grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/gerunds.htm –  yms Oct 19 '11 at 18:20
1  
Both practise and practice are legitimate forms of the word according to Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com. I have seen my UK friends mostly use it with an "s", and in fact Dictionary.com lists the "s" form as the "British" usage. –  Lynn Oct 22 '11 at 1:32

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