- Do you have a license? () ()
- I need to license this truck. () ()
Licence and LicenseFor those following UK conventions, there is often confusion over the words licence and license. In order to understand which to use, you must know the difference between a noun and a verb. This is because licence is a noun, but license is a verb. However, there are tricks to get around this. (See Hot Tip right.)
- This restaurant is licensed to sell alcohol. (licensed - from the verb)
- May I see your driving licence please? (licence - noun)
(Tip: Try substituting the verb to allow with the verb to license to confirm it's a verb.
"This restaurant is allowed to sell alcohol" This sounds ok; therefore, licensed is correct)
(Tip: Try substituting the noun papers with the noun licence to confirm it's a noun.
"May I see your driving papers please? This sounds ok; therefore, licence is correct)
"licensed" (correct version - from the verb to license)
(sign outside a public house)
- I am unable to give you a license because of your history. ("I am unable to give you an allow/allowing/allowed..." This is nonsense; license is wrong.)
- This is not worth losing your licence over.
("I am unable to give you a card/allowance/papers..." This is sounds ok; should be licence)
Try 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.)
A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT LICENSE
Try using the verb to allow (in its various forms, e.g., allowing, allowed, allows) instead of license. If the sentence still makes sense, then license is almost certainly correct. However, if you find yourself using allowance, then you should be using licence because both are nouns. (This trick works because to license is a verb, just like to allow.)
There should be no confusion with licensing or licensed. The endings ing and ed mean these are always from the verb; i.e., there are no such words as licencing or licenced in British or American English.
LICENSE IN AMERICA
In American English, license is both noun and verb.