Licence and License (The Difference)
The Quick AnswerIn the US, use license for noun and verb. In the UK, use licence for the noun, but use license for the verb. For example:
- Do you have a license? () ()
- I need to license this truck. () ()
Licence and LicenseIf you're following US writing conventions, life is easy. Use license. (In the US, licence does not exist.)
For those following UK conventions, you must know the difference between a noun and a verb because licence is used for the noun while license is used for the verb. If you're unsure how to spot a noun and a verb, don't worry because we have some tricks to get around this.
Infographic showing the difference between licence and license.
Examples of Licence and LicenseHere are some examples of sentences with licence and license:
- This restaurant is licensed to sell alcohol. () () (licensed - from the verb)
Tip for BritsTry substituting the verb to allow with the verb to license to confirm it's a verb.
"This restaurant is allowed to sell alcohol."
As this sounds okay, licensed is correct.
- May I see your driving licence please? () () (licence - noun)
Tip for BritsTry substituting the noun papers with the noun licence to confirm it's a noun.
"May I see your driving papers please?"
As this sounds okay, licence is correct.
- I am unable to give you a license because of your history. () ()
- This is not worth losing your licence over. () ()
A Video SummaryHere is a short video summarizing the difference between licence and license.
A Little Trick to Spot LicenceTry using the word card (or papers) instead of licence. If the sentence still makes sense, then licence is almost certainly correct.
(This trick works because licence is a noun, just like the words card and papers.)