I have had this problem for a while with the use of the word practice. I was raised in South Australia where they are – or at least were once – quite particular in teaching the “Queen’s English” the correct way. I remember in school being taught that practice was a noun and the verb was practise.
So a doctor has a practice, and what he did there was practise.
Of course, this distinction is rarely used these days, and I was wondering why.
I happened to find this interesting bit on dictionary.com:
Note: The analogy of the English language requires that the noun and verb which are pronounced alike should agree in spelling. Thus we have notice (n. & v.), noticed, noticing, noticer; poultice (n. & v.); apprentice (n. & v.); office (n. & v.), officer (n.); lattice (n.), latticed (a.); benefice (n.), beneficed (a.), etc. Cf. sacrifice (?; n. & v.), surmise (?; n. & v.), promise (?; n. & v.); compromise (?; n. & v.), etc. Contrast advice (?; n.), and advise (?); device (?), and devise (?), etc.
So, since advice (noun) and advise (verb); and also device (noun) and devise (verb) – have different sounds in their different forms, it is correct to spell them differently. But because we pronounce practice the noun and practise the verb the same way, then they should actually be spelt the same: practice !
Although, a more careful perusal of my copy of The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary (3rd Ed.), does go into a little more detail, and explains that the middle english version of the verb word was actually pronounced the same way as advise and devise – hence the spelling distinction.
So I guess that if I am going to insist on using the word practise, I must also pronounce it the “correct way”, or else be prepared to spell and say it as practice.
Sim’ goes off to practise his new practice of spelling practise as practice.