License vs Licence

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What’s the difference between them?

License

Meaning:

A license is a noun that means a legal document issued by a government or other authority that grants permission to an individual or company to own or use something.

Examples:

1. You must obtain a license before you can operate a motor vehicle.

2. She has a license to practice medicine in the state of Texas.

3. The company was granted a license to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

Licence

Meaning:

Meaning is the same, but such spelling is used in British English.

Examples:

1. You must have a valid driver's licence to operate a vehicle.

2. I need to renew my fishing licence before I can go out on the lake.

3. All businesses are required to have a licence to operate in this state.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

License

Permit

authorization

There are no direct antonyms for this word.

Licence

Permit

authorization

There are no direct antonyms for this word.

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "License", "Licence".

Remember that the spelling of 'License' is used in American English, whereas 'Licence' is used in British English.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

When to use the word License?

The word License is used in American English and has the same meaning as the word Licence. It is used to describe a document or permission that allows an individual or organization to do something legally, such as drive a car, have a pet or operate a business. It may also refer to a legal document or written agreement granting a right or privilege.

When to use the word Licence?

The word Licence is used in British English and is used to describe a document or permission that allows an individual or organization to do something legally, such as drive a car, have a pet or operate a business. It may also refer to a legal document or written agreement granting a right or privilege.

Do the words have the same pronunciation?

Yes, the words Licence and License are pronounced the same way. Both words are pronounced with the /s/ sound, followed by the /əns/ sound.

What are common mistakes associated with words 'Licence' and 'License'?

Common mistakes associated with these words include mixing up their spelling and using the wrong word depending on the geographical region (e.g. using Licence in American English). Another common mistake is using one of these words when the other might be more appropriate in the context of a sentence. For example, using the word License when the word Licence is more suitable.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. You need a ______ to drive a car legally.

2. In the UK, you must have a TV ______ to watch live broadcasts.

3. In the United States, the Department of Motor Vehicles issues a driver’s ______.

4. The software requires a ______ key to activate.

5. In British English, colour and ______ are spelled with a u.

6. He was fined for fishing without a ______.

1. Answer: license or licence

Explanation: There is no specific clue in the sentence to indicate whether American or British English should be used, so both license and licence are acceptable answers.

2. Answer: licence

Explanation: The sentence provides a clue by mentioning in the UK, which indicates that the British English spelling, licence, should be used.

3. Answer: license

Explanation: The sentence provides a clue by mentioning the United States, which indicates that the American English spelling, license, should be used.

4. Answer: license or licence

Explanation: There is no specific clue in the sentence to indicate whether American or British English should be used, so both license and licence are acceptable answers.

5. Answer: licence

Explanation: The sentence provides a clue by discussing British English spelling and giving an example (colour), indicating that licence, which is British English spelling, should be used.

6. Answer: license or licence

Explanation: There is no specific clue in the sentence to indicate whether American or British English should be used, so both license and licence are acceptable answers.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.