Licence or license to thrill?

Ok, this one gets me running for the dictionary every time: when to use licence and license or practice and practise.

Practice with a C is a noun. And practise with an S is a verb. (S and V are close together in the alphabet which is a good way of remembering, I guess.) So,

There’s a new doctor’s practice opened up near me
He runs a legal practice

The girl practised her piano playing
We need to practise our free kicks

And the same goes for licence and license. Licence with a C is a noun. And license with an S is a verb. So,

I need a television licence
I’ve got my driver’s licence with me

You are licensed to run this bar
How to become a licensed contractor

Of course just to confuse matters our pals across the pond use practice with a C for the noun and the verb and license with an S for the noun and the verb.

In fact when the James Bond movie Licence to Kill came out in 1989 the US studio wanted to change it to the American spelling, license. But (I’m pleased to say) the Brits said no. Rather amusingly the original title of the movie was Licence Revoked but a survey showed that 50% of Americans didn’t know what revoked meant. I’m saying nothing.

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