‘Licence' or 'License': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 5, 2022

Did you get your driver’s ‘licence’ or ‘license’? Wondering which is the correct spelling? We can clear that up. Plus, you’ll learn how to use it in a sentence correctly.

Don’t feel like skimming? The quick answer is that it’s spelled ‘license.’ Any other spelling of the word is incorrect and ungrammatical. Below, we’ve outlined the definition and given some usage examples to help guide you as you get more familiar with the word.

‘Licence’ vs. ‘License’ – Spelling Rules

As you’ve just learned, the correct way to spell the word is ‘license.’ Any spelling other than that is incorrect and ungrammatical.

‘Licence’ vs. ‘License’ – What’s the Difference?

Since you know that there's only one correct way to spell it, you know the difference between the two words is that ‘licence’ isn’t a recognized word in the American English language. So, avoid using that spelling of the word in your writing.

Definition and Meaning

The Merriam- Webster's definition of the word is: “permission to act,” “freedom of action,” “a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful,” “a document, plate, or tag evidence a license granted,” “a grant by the holder of a copyright or patent to another of any of the rights embodied in the copyright or patent short of an assignment of all rights,” and “freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility.”

It also means: “disregard for standards of personal conduct: licentiousness” and “deviation from fact, form, or rule by an artist or writer for the sake of the effect gained.”

In verb form, it means: “to issue a license to,” “to permit or authorize, especially by formal license,” and “to give permission or consent to: allow.”

Synonyms of the word include:


  • Allowance
  • Concurrence
  • Greenlight
  • Sanction
  • Authorization
  • Consent
  • Leave
  • Sufferance
  • Clearance
  • Granting
  • Permission
  • Warrant


  • Accredit
  • Authorize
  • Certify
  • Charter (British)
  • Commission
  • Empower
  • Enable
  • Invest
  • Qualify
  • Vest
  • Warrant

Using the Word in a Sentence 

Now that we know the correct spelling of the word, we can see how to use it in a sentence properly.

Check out a few examples:

  • As soon as I turned 16, I got my driver’s license.
  • You just got your license. Make sure always to drive safely.
  • I just got my gun license, and now I want to go to the shooting range.
  • My auntie took me to take the test to get my license.
  • I just got my teaching license; I’m going to be a substitute teacher.
  • The restaurateur applied for a license to sell liquor.

Final Thoughts on ‘Licence’ and ‘License’

To recap, we’ve learned that the correct way to spell the word in question is with an 's' and not two 'c's.' Any other spelling of the word would be incorrect and ungrammatical.

While there’s no easy way to remember how to spell the word, with practice, you’ll be writing it correctly in no time. Use the above examples to help you use it in a sentence correctly, and you’ll be well on your way to a solid foundation when it comes to learning English.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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