Spelling with a c or an s (was Re: A College of Magics)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Aug 28 17:01:07 EDT 2003


Kyla answered me very definitely:

>> "When you leave Greenlaw College, you may or may not be able
>> to practice magic...."
>>
>> In English I would spell this 'practise', it being a verb.  I don't know
>> whether the distinction exists in American but I would have thought it
>> would be useful for it to be made in either language; is the spelling in
>> the book a typo, or is it correct the other way about in American, as
>> sometimes happens?
>
>In the US it's "practice" no matter which part of speech it is.

What happens about other similar pairs, such as advise/advice,
prophesy/prophecy, devise/device, license/licence?  Is it entirely
arbitrary, or is there some arcane ruling that reverses the s/c=verb/noun
one that is clear in English english, but only reverses it for some words
and for some reason decided (as much of English english spelling seems to
have been) by some mad clergyman a couple of hundred years ago who made it
stick by writing a dictionary/grammar book?

Minnow


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