I used to ask my classmates or teacher:

Which book you refer or should I refer?

I've referred (read) license.
I suppose refer as read.

Is it correct?

  • What kind of licence?
    – rjpond
    Sep 25, 2020 at 18:11
  • 1
    @rjpond agreement document
    – Swapnil
    Sep 25, 2020 at 18:12
  • 1
    use this pattern: to refer to something: I refer to a book. Do you refer to a book? No, what you posted is not correct.
    – Lambie
    Sep 25, 2020 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Which book are you referring to? / Which book should I refer to?

Direct questions require inverted word order (except where the first word is a subject pronoun). "Which book" is an object.

You can ask "Which book do you refer to?" or (better) "Which book are you referring to?" or "Which book should I refer to?".

It is ungrammatical to ask "Which book you refer" - this word order is valid only in a subordinate clause (e.g. "I don't know which book you refer to" / "I don't know which book you're referring to").

Reading a licence

If the context is unclear then I would refer to a "licence agreement" or "licensing agreement" rather than just a "licence".

Where it is clear, we can say "I read the licence" (past tense, rhyming "read" with "red"), "I've read the licence" (perfect), or "I'm reading the licence" (if I'm reading it now).

You can also say "I'm referring to the licence".

Difference in meaning - read v refer to

Referring to a book or licence isn't the same thing as reading it. You can refer to it in either of two ways:

  • as a speaker or writer, by mentioning the licence
  • as a reader, by consulting or checking what (part of) the licence says

So referring to something can mean mentioning it or it can mean reading it, but where it means reading it, it usually just means reading a relevant part of it rather than the whole thing (except where it's necessary to read the whole thing to get a definitive answer).

If your teacher tells you to read Chapter 3, that means you should read Chapter 3 (the whole of it, unless otherwise specified). If your teacher tells you to refer to Chapter 3, it means you should take a look at Chapter 3 (possibly only a quick look, if that's all that's necessary) in order to try to find something out.

Spelling of licence/license. The verb is "license". In American English, the noun is usually also "license". In British English, the noun is "licence".

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