If you're following US writing conventions, life is easy. Use "license." (In the US, "licence" does not exist.)
Those following UK conventions 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 workarounds.
A Video Summary
Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "licence" and "license."
Examples of "Licence" and "License"
Here are some examples of sentences with "licence" and "license":
This restaurant is licensed to sell alcohol. () ()
(Here, "licensed" is a verb.)
Tip for Brits
Try 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? () ()
(Here, "licence" is a noun.)
Tip for Brits
Try 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. () ()
No confusion with "licensing" or "licensed"
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 English or American English.
"License" in America
If you're an American, use "license." (In American English, license is both noun and verb.)
A Video Summary
Watch a video showing 10 big differences between British English and American English.
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
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