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Published on February 2nd, 2012 | by Dean Carr


“Personal License”: Am I spelling it correctly?

We at alcohol licence tend get lot of web searches for the term personal licence and personal license spelt with an s. So we have asked our friends at Personal Licence Training Limited to try and explain the confusion surrounding the spelling of the word ‘license’.

A personal licence or personal license? Whichever way it is spelt, it will allow you sell alcohol in England, Wales and Scotland. It is easy to get confused about when to write licence and when license. Which spelling you choose depends on whether you are using the word as a noun or a verb, and whether you are following British usage or not. Spell the word with c in British English when using it as a noun, as in driving licence, off-licence, poetic licence. When using it as verb, you should spell it with an s, as in licensed premises. Other varieties of English often follow this rule, except United States English, where the -s- is much more common in both the noun and the verb.

Do not confuse licence with license. Licence is a noun which means ‘a permit to do something’ (a driving licence), whereas license is a verb meaning ‘give a permit to someone; allow something’ (the loggers are licensed to cut mahogany trees). In American English, both the noun and the verb are spelled license.

This confusion is so similar to practice and practise that once you’ve learned the difference for one, you will instantly know it for the other!

Licence is a noun, License is a verb. Before learning to drive, you must apply for a provisional driving licence, but the DVLA must license you to drive.

When you apply to a Licensing Authority for a Personal Licence, your local Licensing Authority will license you to sell alcohol.

We hope the above English lesson helps with any confusion!

So a Personal Licence is what you require if you are looking to sell or authorise the sale of alcohol from licensed premises. There are currently two types of personal licence: one for alcohol sales in England & Wales and one for Scotland.

If you require a personal licence to sell alcohol then you are on the right website. Simply click below to book a course online or find a training location near you.

Click here to choose a Licence for England & Wales


Click here to choose a licence for Scotland

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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188

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