Confusing Nouns and Verbs

Word of the Week, Writing

Following on from yesterday’s blog post about the words that I commonly misspell (Ha! Got it right first time!), I  decided to share another issue that a lot of us have, and that is knowing when certain words have an “s” in them, and when they have a “c” in them.

For example:

  • Advice / Advise
  • Prophecy / Prophesy
  • Licence / License
  • Practice / Practise
  • Device / Devise

The word that catches me out the most is definitely practice/practise, and I know that the two words have different meanings but I can just never remember.

The Secret

The secret to figuring out whether each word has a “c” or an “s” is to look at the meaning of the word that you’re trying to write. For example:

The definition of “Advice” is:

an opinion that someone offers you about what you should do or how you should act in a particularsituation

As the word is described as an “opinion”, this makes the word a “thing”, or something that is being named, therefore this is a Noun.

On the other hand the definition of the word “advise” is:

to give someone advice

Therefore, the act of actually giving advice, making the word a “verb” – or a doing word.

As another example, the word practice would be used to describe the physical or metaphorical building, making it a Noun, whilst practise would be used to describe the action of what is practised within the practice.

Layman’s Terms

  1. If it is a Noun, it is a word that is naming something specific
  2. This means that you spell it with a “c”
  3. If it is a Verb, it is a word that is describing the action of the Noun
  4. This means that you spell it with an “s”

Remember: Nouns Name, and Verbs Describe an Action.

 

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