24 March 2010

express Yourself: Practice makes perfect (or is it practise…?)

We’ve noticed some confusion in the media lately about the difference between “practice” and “practise”.

Conventions in American English differ but with good old-fashioned English English – the original and best! – the important thing to remember is that “practice” is the noun and “practise” is the verb.

A doctor has a practice, therefore; footballers might have a practice session; and we can say that the practice of spelling correctly is an admirable thing.

But when we are talking in verbs, that same doctor is practising medicine; the footballers are practising their ball control; and lucky children are practising their spelling in tests at school.

The same principles often apply to nouns and verbs with similar “-ce” and “-se” endings, such as licence and license (e.g. “My driving licence [noun] means that I am licensed [verb] to drive a car.”).

And the point of all this practice? To make perfect, of course. As the legendary Gary Player once said, when accused of just being a lucky golfer: “I am lucky. And you know what, the more I practise, the luckier I get!”

Marc Cornelius

Managing Director & Founder

Marc has over 20 years’ international PR experience gained at leading agencies and in-house. He has specialised in aviation and travel for a decade, devising and overseeing successful international PR programmes and building 80:20 Communications into an acclaimed sector specialist.

Article Author Marc Cornelius