Licence and License (The Difference)

The Quick Answer
In 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. () ()

What is the difference between Licence and License?

If 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.

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. () ()
  • (licensed - from the 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? () ()
  • (licence - 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. () ()


Here is an infographic showing the difference between licence and license:

licence license
Interactive Test

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words