Permitting and Permissioning

Related, and problematic.

Permit as a noun meaning ‘licence’ is totally fine (In Canada, we require owners of guns to have permits), as is the verb form when it means ‘to allow’ (Smoking is not permitted).

In legal usage – and I think mostly in US legal usage –  permit as a verb has come to mean ‘to license’ or ‘to issue a permit to’ (The permitting of architects is governed the relevant statute and professional rules).

I haven’t heard how permitting in that last sense is pronounced, but I suspect it may more like PER-mitting than per-MITT-ing. (The latter would be correct in something like weather permitting, of course.)

Better to avoid permitting in the regulatory context, I think.

Worse is permissioning, which you may encounter if you deal with the technical aspects of document security in your legal workplace (Permissioning can be controlled at a file or matter level, or individually by user).

Avoid this altogether, especially when it’s easy (and more elegant) to say something like Permission can be granted …

Now that we’ve entered the realm of knowledge management and legal tech, templating is now something people seem to do.

Please don’t. Just create a template (or model or precedent or sample).

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)


  1. Stop the unnecessary verbing of nouns.

Leave a Reply

(Your email address will not be published or distributed)