- License is both a noun and a verb in the United States.
- If you live in any other English-speaking country, you will spell it licence when you use it as a noun and license when you use it as a verb.
There are plenty of things you can’t do without a license—drive a car, fly a plane, be a doctor, or be a fisherman. And because licenses are so important, you might as well learn how to spell them correctly.
License as a Verb: Spelling and Examples
Like many other words in the English language, license is spelled differently in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. However, this is not the case when license is used as a verb. The verb form is always spelled the same—license—and it always has the same meaning—to issue a license, or to give permission.
Here are a couple of examples of the word used in American online publications:
And this is how they spell it in British online publications:
As you see, there’s no difference in meaning between the two.
License as a Noun: Spelling and Examples
But license can also be used as a noun, which is where the different spellings come into play. In American English, the noun is spelled the same as the verb—license. But in British English, the noun is spelled licence. All the while, the meaning stays the same—permission, a permit, a document that states you are qualified or allowed to do something.
Here’s how they use license in American English:
And try to spot the difference in these examples of British English:
And to illustrate how other English-speaking countries will spell it licence as a noun, here are examples of the words used in Canadian, Australian, South African, and New Zealand publications. (Notice how the last one shows the differences in spelling from when the word is used as noun to a verb):