Monday, September 20, 2010

Grammar on the Porch #9

Is it just me or do high school English classes slide further and further away with every year? Thank goodness we have "Grammar on the Porch". Good old Grammar loves to visit The Letterbug from time to time for a nice cup of tea and a natter about the English language. She knows you know - really she does. But just in case...

Image kindly supplied by Toni Grote - visit to see more of her beautiful artwork.

When the porch is ravaged by wind and rain for weeks on end, Grammar doesn't visit much. It's been awhile, but with just a hint of spring in the air Grammar thought she ought to pop in for a quick cup of tea and a chat.

There are numerous words in the English language that sound the same as each other in speech, but have their own unique spelling. These words are used with ease when talking, but often bring our writing to an abrupt halt as we puzzle over which is the correct spelling for our particular purpose.

Grammar is going to set the record straight on a couple of these words this afternoon, while we wait for our English Breakfast to draw...

Practice vs. Practise

Which spelling is correct? Which word do we use when? You mean there is more than one spelling???

If you've ever stumbled over 'practice' and 'practise', I have the simplest of solutions. You will never mix up these two little lovelies again! So here it is:

Practice is a noun, a thing. Something you can put 'the' in front of. E.G. I have an appointment at the medical practice in 20 minutes.

Practise is a verb, an action. A doing word. E.G. If I am ever going to get faster at knitting I need to practise.

So how can we remember which practice is which? Easy!

'ICE' is a cold slippery thing, whereas 'ISE' is not a thing.
So, just remember that practice is a thing and practise is a doing word:

"The only thing Grammar doesn't like about bowls practice is practising her drive."

Special bonus extra from Grammar: Another similar confusion is advice and advise. Fortunately, the same rules apply.

Now then, that breeze is going right through me out here on the porch. Grammar's going to nip inside with an Iced Vo-Vo and a nice brew.

See you soon!


  1. Yay! It's very exciting to find someone else who's a fan of correct grammar. I hate seeing the wrong "practice" in a sentence!

  2. Hooray! There's always room on Grammar's porch for another grammar enthusiast. Welcome!! x


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