One of the challenges of Canadian English is that it incorporates British English while simultaneously incorporating American English. This is particularly confusing when it comes to choosing which words to use.

Take the words “practice” and “practise”, for example.


In both the UK and the US, “practice” is a noun, as in, “We’re going to football practice.” However, in the United States, it can be used as a verb, as in, “We’re going to practice football.”


Practise, on the other hand, is a strictly British usage. In the UK, English speakers use “practise” as a verb, in the same way that Americans use “practice” as a verb.

So, where do Canadians come in? Do we side with Americans as we do with “tire” and “curb”, or do we side with the British as we do with “colour” and “metre”?

Well, in this case, in Canada, we use “practice” as a noun and “practise” as a verb, just like the Brits.

Now, keep in mind, as with some other words, this usage is changing. Just as how the American spelling of “color” and pronunciation of “zee” are starting to gain popularity in Canada, so is the American usage of “practice“. In time, Canadians may end up favouring the simpler approach.

But for now, in Canada, use “practice” as a noun and “practise” as a verb

Bonus tip: same goes for licence and license. In Canada, “licence” is what you receive and “license” is what someone does to you when you receive your licence.

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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