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Is there any difference in meaning between "fare pratica" and "praticare" when they mean "to practice" (e.g., a profession, a kind of art, an activity)? Can both be used intransitively? Examples:

  • È avvocato ma non pratica / fa pratica.
  • Dipingi molto meglio al giorno d'oggi rispetto a 2 anni fa! Dove hai praticato / fatto pratica?
  • Impara solo chi pratica/ fa pratica spesso.
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The locution fare pratica means “to be in the process of learning or perfecting an art, a job, a sport or similar”.

Alan è avvocato, ma non pratica.
Alan è laureato in legge e fa pratica di avvocato.

In the first case, Alan has a license for being a lawyer/barrister in court; in the second case, Alan is practicing in order to obtain the said license.

The painter in your second example ha fatto pratica.

From the Treccani dictionary

in particolare, tirocinio professionale, apprendistato di un mestiere, specialmente nella locuzione fare pratica: ha fatto pratica di avvocato nello studio del padre; farà pratica in un ospedale di provincia; sta facendo pratica come restauratore in uno studio d’arte.

It's impossible to say *fare pratica spesso, because fare pratica is a continuing activity.

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  • Thanks for the answer! Why is "praticare" not correct in the painter example? Doesn't that verb mean "to practice" ? – Alan Evangelista Nov 22 '19 at 18:58
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    @AlanEvangelista Not with the same meanings as in English – egreg Nov 22 '19 at 20:13
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Judging from the definitions of both at treccani.it and the entry for "pratice" at merriam-webster.com,

  • Praticare = first definition of "to practice", or "carry out, apply/to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually/to be professionally engaged in"

  • Fare pratica = either the first definition or the second (which is "to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient/to train by repeated exercises")

So "praticare" has one specific meaning, i.e. to run an activity or a business, while "fare pratica" can also mean the act of training.

Sources:

Personally I've only heard "fare pratica" used for the latter case, if that helps.

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    In definitions 1.a. and b. of "praticare", this verb is transitive ("praticare la giustizia" or "praticare la professione legale", for instance), so I'm not sure they really correspond to what the OP is asking. – Charo Nov 21 '19 at 20:35
  • And Treccani says that, in the expression "fare pratica", the word "pratica" means "tirocinio professionale, apprendistato di un mestiere" (as in the sentence "ha fatto pratica di avvocato nello studio del padre"), which I think it doesn't correspond to the meaning the OP is referring to. – Charo Nov 21 '19 at 20:40

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