We need to understand possessive forms before it comes to using them in our own writing. In this article, we’ll look at the possessive form of “driver license” and whether “driver’s license” or “drivers license” are correct along with it.
Is It “Driver License,” “Driver’s License,” Or “Drivers License”?
“Driver’s license” is correct when talking about someone’s license in general because “driver’s” is the possessive form. “Driver license” is sometimes correct on official American documents about driver’s licenses. “Drivers license” is never correct.
The possessive of “driver” is “driver’s.” We use this form when we want to talk about the “driver” owning something. In this case, the “driver” owns the “license,” which is why it’s common to say “driver’s license.
How Prevalent Is The Use Of “Driver License” And “Drivers License”?
While “driver’s license” is the best form to use because it uses possessive forms correctly, that doesn’t mean it’s the only form. We can look at a visual representation of the usage of all the words linked to driver’s licenses to see which is most popular.
According to this graph, “driver’s license” is the most popular (because it’s correct), but “driver license” is also fairly popular comparatively. There was also once a time where “drivers license” was correct a few decades ago, but it has since fallen out of popularity.
From this graph, it’s clear that all three have been correct at some point in their time. However, “driver’s license” is the only true and correct version, and it’s the one you should stick to using.
Is It Ever Correct To Use “Drivers’ License”?
There is another type of possessive form that we haven’t covered yet. “Drivers'” is a type of possessive that refers to multiple “drivers” owning something, which is why the apostrophe comes after the “S.”
It is never correct to use “drivers’ license” because it implies that multiple people own the same license. This is against the law in every country in the world since licenses can only be owned by one person.
If we turned “license” into the plural form (“licenses”), then we’d be able to use “drivers'” as the possessive. That’s because we’re now talking about multiple people owning multiple licenses, and we can see that in the following:
- I have gathered all of the drivers’ licenses.
Is “Driver’s License” Singular Or Plural?
Knowing the singular or plural form of “driver’s license” will help us figure a few things out about it.
“Driver’s license” is singular, as it only refers to one official document and license owned by one person. We can only use it as a singular form.
If you want to use it in the plural, then you would need to change “license” to “licenses.” Now we have the word “driver’s licenses,” which implies that one person owns multiple licenses that allow them to drive (which isn’t possible).
The only correct plural would be “drivers’ licenses,” as we stated above, which refers to multiple people owning a different license each.
Is It “Driver’s License” Or “Driving License”?
We might sometimes hear “driving license” uses, but there’s a very specific circumstance where this is the case.
“Driver’s license” is much more popular than “driving license” according to this graph. “Driving license” barely makes it off the line compared with “driver’s license, which shows just how popular it is in comparison.
You might hear “driving license” more often in British English, which we’ll touch on later.
Is It “License” Or “Licence”?
Next, we may come across alternative spellings of “license.” Both are correct, and the difference depends entirely on which language you are using to write.
This graph shows the overall usage of “license” and “licence” as spelling variations. Here, they’re fairly similar, though “license” is historically much more popular.
We can narrow down this information by separating it into American English and British English. From there, it’ll be more obvious why we might use one over the other.
In American English, which we can see from this graph, “license” is the only correct spelling. You can see this because it’s so much more popular than “licence,” which barely comes off the line.
Contrary to the above, in this British English graph, “licence” and “license” are much more similar. That’s because “licence” is the officially recognized spelling in British English, but the American spelling “license” is slowly gaining more prevalence.
“License” is an American English spelling, while “licence” is a British English one.
Is “Driver’s License” And “Driving License” Used Differently In American English And British English?
We can also check to see how “driver’s license” and “driving license” are used differently between the two languages. With this, it might help us to understand whether a “driving license” is used at all.
This graph demonstrates the usage in American English. “Driver’s license” is by far the most acceptable and popular choice, but “driving license” is occasionally used too. Both phrases started appearing around the same time, but “driver’s license” was much more successful.
We then have this British English graph, which shows the variant spelling “licence.” Here, “driving licence” is by far the most popular choice, and “driver’s licence” is barely recorded at all.
“Driver’s license” is the correct and popular choice in American English. In British English, the spelling changes, but “driving licence” is the correct and only choice.
How Do You Spell Driver’s License In Canada?
Canadian English mostly follows British English rules. This means that they will use licence” when they want to write about it. They spell it in the same way as British English users. However, because of the prevalence of American English, they prefer to use “driver’s.”
In Canada, “driver’s licence” is the correct spelling.
How Do You Spell Driver’s License In Australia?
Australian English also follows British English rules, and they use “licence” as the spelling. However, they don’t follow any of the previous trends and use “driver” as their preferred choice in the phrase. There isn’t much mention of “driver’s” or “driving” in Australian English.
In Australia, “driver licence” is the correct spelling.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.