I'm rather confused as to whether you say I have a practise amp or I have a practice amp when referring to an amplifier that you use to practise your guitar playing.

I understand that the verb form is -se, but I also wonder whether "practice amp" is correct as it's a compound noun.

Any help and clarification would be gratefully received.


You have a noun and a verb, and what you need is an adjective.

Both nouns and verbs can be used to modify nouns, but in different ways.

With verbs we can use a present participle ("practising amp") or past participle ("practised amp", though "practised guitarist" would be a more realistic example) or a to-infinitive ("amp to practise").

With nouns we just use the noun attributively ("practice amp").

It's the last of these that matches what you are looking for here.

Consider that when the verb and noun for an activity are more strongly different, such as food and eat. You would have a "food shop" but not an "eat shop" and so on, though you might well also have an "eating place" etc.

  • 2
    Yes, but interestingly when you press the re'cord button on your cassette deck (if you still have such antediluvian technology! :) everyone knows that the stress falls on the second syllable. So that must be a "verb" modifier - as opposed to stress on the first syllable (as a 'record player, for example), where it's an "attributive noun" usage. – FumbleFingers Jun 10 '15 at 12:13
  • @FumbleFingers probably influenced in no small part by the fact that they often had the word "record" written on or above the button. Likewise, "close" and "minimise/minimize" buttons on windowed UI and so on. – Jon Hanna Jun 10 '15 at 12:20
  • But what FF is saying is that [paraphrasing] 'With verbs we can use a present participle or past participle, or a to-infinitive postnominally' is not the whole story. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 10 '15 at 23:08

Yes, it is correct. You would not say "practise amp", the reason being "practise" is a verb. One does not "practise an amp", do they?

This sentence might be useful:

I am going to practise writing an essay by writing a practice essay.

Trivia: In US English, "practice" is used for both the verb and the noun, thus eliminating any confusion.

  • 1
    One doesn't practice an amp, but one does [verb] a [noun] for many nouns and verbs, so that argument doesn't hold as a general rule. – Jon Hanna Jun 10 '15 at 12:00
  • 2
    @JonHanna It was not meant to be a rule - I included it as a sort of thinking exercise to help the OP understand why, rather than just giving a plain old "yes". – Dog Lover Jun 10 '15 at 12:03
  • 3
    Yes, I would hold that as a thinking exercise it is incorrect, though it happens to arrive at the correct result. – Jon Hanna Jun 10 '15 at 12:04
  • 'You would not say "practise amp", the reason being "practise" is a verb' is fallacious reasoning. You say 'stop button', 'record button' (as FF says), 'drag chain / net', 'drift net', 'pull chain', 'float glass', 'float chamber', 'tote bag', 'call taxi'. There are more closed V+N compounds (cutthroat, passport, scofflaw, breakfast, killjoy, turnkey, scarecrow, pickpocket, pushchair ...). – Edwin Ashworth Jun 10 '15 at 23:39

Yes! Since it's a noun, it's correct here. It simply means that the amplifier is used for practice.


I'm an American guitar player. "Practice Amp" is a noun, totally cool. Someone was writing about "you don't practise an amp" or something? Not a guitar player. Downvotes a-comin'! (edit: darn, no rep...)

To my knowledge, practice or practise is an American/UK (resp) spelling thing.

If one should use practise, not practice when conjugating as a verb, as your question suggests, I think that is news the entire US population, we ONLY spell it practice.

Now, go practice your amps!

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.