Thursday, January 14, 2016

Licence to be licensed




Okay, you probably already know this but it's been bothering me for some time now, especially when it crops up in a crossword puzzle.

The difference between licence and license.

So I looked it up and this information is more for me than for you because I probably won't remember it next week.

In the USA, "license" is used as both a verb and a noun. The word "licence" is not used at all.

In the rest of the world, "licence" is a noun and "license" is a verb.

As in:
If you are licensed to drive, you must carry your driver's license with you when driving. (US)

and:
If you are licensed to drive, you must carry your driver's licence with you when driving. (elsewhere)

In Canada, therefore:

"licence" = noun


"license" = verb


Think I can remember that?  



While we are having this lovely grammatical/spelling discussion, let's mention the issues of 

defence vs. defense

and 

practice vs. practise

These words are similar in their geographical usage. In the case of "practice" and "practise", like "licence" and "license", the former is a noun and the latter is a verb in most of the world. However, the word practice is not used at all in the US where "practise" with an "s" is used for both noun and verb, which certainly simplifies things, but what about losing the derivation of words like "practical" and "practicable"?

In the case of "defence" and "defense", you'd be right if you guessed that "defense" is used in the US while "defence" is used in the rest of the world, including Canada, although, in this country, spelling is becoming a mish-mash since so many people like me are conflicted or confused and, of course, spell checks are slanted toward US variations. I may as well note that "defence/defense" are both nouns. But you already knew that. 

Now, where is that crossword puzzle? And what's its country of origin?