Licence vs License
What is the difference between licence and license? Why is this difference between licence and license even important? It is because there are many words in English language that are spelled differently in different countries while retaining the same meaning. One such word, that is spelt as licence in UK has a spelling in US where the second C is replaced by S. The word licence means getting the certification from a competent authority to sell a product such as a licence to sell liquor in a restaurant. This is a noun, but when it is used as a verb, even in the UK, the spelling is license, and not licence. All this is very confusing and this article attempts to remove all doubts surrounding the same word and different spellings in different contexts.
What does Licence mean?
One difference that someone who uses the word licence while typing in MS Word immediately notices is that the software does not accept this spelling. This is only natural as it has been created by Microsoft in the US where the spelling of the word is license both in its noun and verb forms. Have a look at the following sentences to understand the correct usage of the word both in UK and the US.
Usage of Licence and License in British English
This restaurant has been licensed to sell liquor. (verb)
Do you have the licence of this pistol? (noun)
The company has been licensed by the government to issue pollution licences to automobile owners. (noun)
It is clear from the above examples that in the United Kingdom, the word has a C when used as a noun and a S when used as a verb.
What does License mean?
Interestingly, though the spelling of the word changes from licence to license when it comes to American English, the meaning remains the same. A license means “a permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade.”
Usage of License in American English
The licensing authority issued the license to the company. (noun)
John was not in possession of his driving license when the police questioned him. (noun)
Are you licensed to sell cigarettes to minors? (verb)
From these examples given above it becomes clear that though in British English two different meanings are used to the same word when it is used as a noun and a verb, such a step is not taken in American English. In the United States whether one is talking about the act of licensing or the noun license, the same word is used. In that sense, the usage of license in the American English is much easier.
What is the difference between Licence and License?
• If you are in UK, the word is licence when used as a noun and license when used as a verb.
• If you are in US, the word has just one spelling that is license irrespective of the usage as a noun or as a verb.