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Friday, February 7, 2014

Is it driver's licence or drivers licence. McDonald's Amore terms and conditions uses American spelling.

The question of driver's licence or drivers licence comes up often. If you check the internet you'll find government sites using both. VicRoads even has both versions used on its site, but to be fair, the one I found is for a link to the Magistrates' Court.

In the following image, which is from the McDonald's Amore competition terms and conditions, you'll see McDonald's is using the American spelling of license instead of licence. That is clearly an error. However, they also use Australian driver's license, whereas they should be using Australian drivers licence.

In this usage the phrase drivers licence is a generic term which is a descriptive plural noun and not a possessive. Another common example is visitors book. It is driver's licence when referring to a particular person's licence. Personally I find this quite confusing and understand how this makes the language more difficult.

The American spelling is never valid in Australia. The use of driver's licence where drivers licence should have been used however is a very easy mistake to make.

Kelvin Eldridge