In the Queen's English, licence is the noun form of license, although both words are prononunced in exactly the same way. Therefore, James Bond possesses a licence to kill (presumably he keeps it in his wallet), and he 'is licensed' to kill. Or rather, he would if he was a real person. He's not. He's a fictional character. Ian Fleming's mental plaything, a puppet constructed of ink and film stock, a flickering shadow, more real to us than our own lives for one hundred minutes and then gone. Incidentally, there was some fuss as to whether the 1989 Timothy Dalton film was to be 'License to Kill' or 'Licence to kill' - the latter eventually prevailed.

There is a similar distinction between practice and practise - the easiest way to remember whether a British word should end in 'ce' or 'se' is to think of the words 'advice' and 'advise', as these are not only spelled differently, they are pronounced differently too.

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