Confused Words | Licence and License

The confusion

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The words license and licence can be confusing. Here is a quick explanation:

  • License is used in American English as a noun and as a verb
  • In British English, license is used as a verb and licence as a noun.

Licence and License

In British English

In British English licence is a noun. It refers to an official document which gives you permission to do, use, or own something.


  • a driving licence
  • a gun licence

In British English license is used as a verb meaning to grant a licence.


  • Restaurants must be licensed to sell alcohol.
  • They are licensed to carry firearms.

In American English

In American English license is used as both a noun and a verb.

A list of confused words