Offense or Offence | Difference & Example Sentences

Offence and offense are two different spellings of the same word, a noun used to refer to a crime or breach of rule, the state of being insulted, or a sports position intended to score on an opponent.

The spelling tends to vary based on whether you’re writing in UK or US English:

  • In UK English, ‘offence’ (with a ‘c’) is standard.
  • In US English, ‘offense’ (with an ‘s’) is more common.
Examples: Offense and offence in a sentence
In spite of the court’s judgment, there is no evidence that Tim committed the offence/offense.

Some members of the audience took offence/offense to the young comedian’s jokes.

When he was in college, Darren played offence/offense for the football team.

Many words that are spelled with ‘-se’ in US English are spelled with ‘-ce’ in UK English. Some other common examples include ‘defense/defence‘, ‘license/licence’, and ‘pretense/pretence’.

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Offensive (with an ‘s’) is an adjective used to describe something as ‘causing displeasure’ or  ‘intended for offence/offense’. It can also be used as a noun to refer to a military attack.

‘Offensive’ and the related adverb ‘offensively’ are always spelled with an ‘s’. ‘Offencive’ is never correct.

Examples: Offensive in a sentence
The offensive TV show was cancelled.

The military offensive had a devastating effect on the city.

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No offense or no offence

No offence/offense is a phrase used to indicate that you do not intend to insult someone. It means the same whether written with an ‘s’ or a ‘c’.

Example: No offence/offense in a sentence
No offence/offense, but I think you are being a little callous.

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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Ryan, E. (2023, March 14). Offense or Offence | Difference & Example Sentences. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 April 2024, from

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.