Today’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.