General Writing and Grammar Help/Practise or practice?


I've recently hired a (non-native) proofreader to correct some pieces of online text for another client, but I'm not sure if she got some things right. I also happen to be a non-native speaker myself and I would like a second opinion from a native and experienced proofreader and editor...

In a part of the article the  client wrote: "I find healing through writing a wonderful practise." Also in another part, client used the word "practise" again as follows: "Some people may think meditation is a long drawn out affair, or you may think it requires some spiritual-religious practise."

and the proofreader insisted "practise" was correct because it denotes action. Isn't "practice" the correct word because it denotes a noun in this case? or am I wrong and the proofreader got this right?

Btw it's originally written in Australian English if that makes any difference...

=Practise= (spelled =practice= in American English) is one of those irritating words that can be a noun or a verb.

I will practise piano. [verb]
Meditation is something that takes practise.  [noun]
Meditation is a practise that many find soothing. [noun]

What you have is what is in the two last sentences.

In the first, =practise= means "repetition".
In the second, it means a "system or regimen".

In both cases, the word is a noun. I'm not sure what the proofreader meant.


I wonder if the problem is one of spelling convention?  =Practise= is the British and Canadian spelling (and probably the same in other parts of the world once a part of the British Empire, such as Australia and New Zealand).  The American spelling has a =c= instead of the =s=.  American =z= is also replaced by =s=.  =Er in American English is replaced by =re=; =or= is =our=.  


color (Am.)
colour (Brit.)

favorite (Am.)
favourite (Brit.)

recognize (Am.)
recogise (Brit.)

apologize (Am.)
apologise (Brit.)

colonize (Am.)
colonise (Brit.)

center (Am.)
centre (Brit.)

theater (Am.)
theatre (Brit.)

...and so forth.

Here's the important part:  the word is spelled the same way, whether it's a noun or a verb.  The exact spelling depends on whether the American or British system (I was going to say =practice=!!) is used.


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Martha Beth Lewis


I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.


I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.

Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.

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