“ent” and “ant”

A39D4C26-BC49-4184-824A-35D019E749E7Today’s one-word prompt from Sheryl at Your Daily Word Prompt is “dependant.” The problem with that word is that my spell checker keeps highlighting it and my autocorrect keeps changing it to “dependent.” That’s because I have my spell-checker and autocorrect set to US (American) English. And in American English, dependant is a misspelling.

According to my exhaustive research, in British English, “dependant” can also be spelled “dependent.” In British English, dependent is an adjective, and dependant is a noun. “Dependent” is the adjective meaning needing something or someone else for support: Many adults are dependent upon coffee to help them wake up in the morning. “Dependant” is a noun used for a person (such as a child) who relies upon others for care: The parents must sign for a dependant to be able to have the surgery.

But for those who use American English, the word “dependent” is used for both meanings. There is no word “dependant.”

Interestingly, the word “defendant” rhymes with the word “dependent,” but the former ends in “ant” while the latter end in “ent.” This is just another example about how screwy the English language is. And that doesn’t even include the myriad other spelling differences between American and British English.

And don’t even get me started on the differences between how punctuation relative to quotation marks is different between American and British English, which I whined about here.

15 thoughts on ““ent” and “ant”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong November 13, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    I’ve always used “dependant” to mean the kind the IRS deducts and “dependent” as somone who’s heavy into drugs or booze. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 13, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      The IRS refers to those for whom you can make tax deductions as “dependents,” but you can call or spell them any way you want if your spell checker and autocorrect lets you get away with it. Mine doesn’t.


  2. Sadje November 13, 2018 / 3:44 pm

    I had the same issue with auto correct!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor November 13, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    The dependant variable is the Y value, because that is what changes over time which is reflected by the X axis.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango November 13, 2018 / 5:27 pm

      Or the dependent variable.


  4. Marleen November 13, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    It’s intuitive that the “a” spelling would be a noun. Yet, it’s memorized knowledge that we don’t spell that word that way. Kinda dumb.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sight11 November 13, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    I always thought dependant and dependent can’t be used interchangeably.. I thought dependant is a noun like you said…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 13, 2018 / 9:41 pm

      In American English both the noun and the adjective are spelled dependent with an “e.” “Dependant” with the “a” is a misspelling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sight11 November 14, 2018 / 12:10 am

        I used both..cause well I follow the British one.. And due to my work the American one as well..

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ruth November 14, 2018 / 5:31 am

    I don’t ever mind the various differences in spelling and use of words between English and American English, but I must admit I do get mildly irritated when some people vociferously insist that American English is ‘right’ and English is ‘wrong’. I mean, language is always evolving everywhere across the globe, and cultural differences are inevitable so for me it’s not a case of either necessarily being right or wrong, just of local differences that have developed over time… 🙂


    • Fandango November 14, 2018 / 8:46 am

      Very true. My only real gripe is that when someone posts questions asking what my “favourite” of something is, I’m always having to change it to “favorite” because of that extraneous “u.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ruth November 14, 2018 / 9:18 am

        That’s fair enough – I do the same in reverse! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Irene November 14, 2018 / 5:49 am

    In Canada we follow mostly the British forms as you have explained, dependant is the noun, e.g. in tax forms, and dependent as an adjective. We also use “ou” in colour, favourite, etc. And I just recently learned that “specially” and “especially” are two different words!

    Liked by 1 person

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