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|Written by Miss Smartypants|
|Monday, 22 February 2010 00:00|
Dear Miss Smartypants,
What's the difference between licence and license? I used to think that one was British (or Canadian) and one was American, but spell check isn't correcting either one. Are both correct? Is there any difference in usage?
Licence (license?) to spell
Dear Practice Makes Perfect,
In grade 11 math (yes, math), my teacher put something up on a board, and a student asked why he had spelt practise with an s instead of a c. Mr. Hurtle explained that one is a verb and one is a noun. It's the same here: licence, with a c, is a noun. You have a driver's licence. You need a licence to wed. License, with an s, is a verb. You are licensed to drive. You need to be licensed to wed. Licence/license, practice/practise, and advice/advise all follow the same rule. Since advice/advise is probably the one you are familiar with, try subbing them into a sentence with one of the other two and seeing which one works. You wrote to my advice column. I advised you to try substitution.