Offence vs Offense

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What’s the difference between them?

Offence

Meaning:

Offence is an act of breaking the law or going against accepted behaviour or norms.

Examples:

1. He was charged with a serious offence.

2. The police took him into custody for the offence.

3. The judge imposed a heavy sentence for the offence.

Offense

Meaning:

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

Examples:

1. The basketball player committed a foul that was an offense.

2. She took offense to his comments.

3. The criminal was charged with a felony offense.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Offence

1. Crime

2. Transgression

3. Malfeasance

4. Misconduct

5. Violation

6. Breach of Law

7. Infringement

8. Wrongdoing

9. Indiscretion

10. Trespass

1. Defense

2. Innocence

3. Acquittal

4. Compliance

5. Obedience

6. Honesty

7. Rectitude

8. Righteousness

9. Virtue

10. Respectability

Offense

1. Transgression

2. Indignity

3. Infraction

4. Breach of conduct

5. Violation of law

1. Defense

2. Absolution

3. Apology

4. Acquittal

5. Acquiescence

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Offence", "Offense".

1. The distinction between them can be understood by using the following mnemonic phrase: 'Offence is for England, offense is for U.S.A.'

2. Offence is the spelling used in British English, while offense is the spelling used in American English.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the word 'offence' be used?

Offence is a noun that is usually used in a legal context, such as in the phrase 'criminal offence'. It is commonly used in the UK to refer to a violation of rules or laws.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'offense'?

Offense is a noun that is usually used in a sports or military context, such as in the phrase 'an offensive play' or 'offensive weapons'. It is commonly used in the US to refer to aggression or an attack.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Yes, the two words are pronounced the same. Both are pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, and the second syllable is a short 'se' sound.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One common mistake is using the incorrect spelling in different regions—it’s important to remember that offence is used in the UK and offense is used in the US.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. In the United Kingdom, the term used to describe a crime is an __________.

2. One of the most serious __________s in the United States is vehicular manslaughter.

3. The young man was arrested for a minor __________ and sentenced to probation.

4. In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of an __________, the prosecution must present evidence.

5. The accused was found to have committed a felony __________ and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

6. The __________ was reduced to a misdemeanor after the court heard the defendants plea of leniency.

1. In the United Kingdom, the term used to describe a crime is an offence.

Explanation: In the United Kingdom, the term used to describe a crime is an offence. This spelling is the British English variation of the word offense.

2. One of the most serious offenses in the United States is vehicular manslaughter.

Explanation: The correct spelling of the word in this sentence is offenses. This spelling is the American English variation of the word offence.

3. The young man was arrested for a minor offense/offence and sentenced to probation.

Explanation: Both spellings are correct since there is no cue on using the certain variant.

4. In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of an offense/offence, the prosecution must present evidence.

Explanation: Both spellings are correct since there is no cue on using the certain variant.

5. The accused was found to have committed a felony offense/offence and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Explanation: Both spellings are correct since there is no cue on using the certain variant.

6. The offense/offence was reduced to a misdemeanor after the court heard the defendants plea of leniency.

Explanation: Both spellings are correct since there is no cue on using the certain variant.

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