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Learning English Grammar | confusing nouns | habits, customs, practices



English grammar | confusing nouns

As a tourist, you should show respect for local behaviour. [incorrect]
As a tourist, you should show respect for local customs. [correct]

They encourage the practice of teachers reading aloud to young children. [correct]
They encourage the habit of teachers reading aloud to young children. [incorrect]

A habit is something a person does regularly in a particular way as part of their everyday life, often without thinking about it:
After a while, seperating rubbish for recycling just becomes a habit.
People's habits have changed. Families no longer eat meals together.

A custom is something people in a particular country or of a particular religious or ethnic group do because it has been part of their culture or way of life for many years:
He studied Maori culture and customs.
The custom of decorating a tree at Christmas goes back hundreds of years.

A practice is a method of doing something which is usually used, especially in a particular country, industry etc. In this sense, practice is a countable noun:
The report condemned the practice of keeping prisoners in chains.
Modern agricultural practices are to blame for the decline in wild flowers.

Someone's behaviour is the way they behave generally or on a particular occasion. Behaviour is usually an uncountable noun and has no plural form:
The appalling behaviour of a minority of soccer fans ruined the match for everyone.

See more common English grammar mistakes

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