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“Dependant” vs. “Dependent”: How to Choose the Right Word

Updated on June 10, 2024Commonly Confused Words

What’s the difference between dependant and dependent?

The terms dependant and dependent are often confused, but their usage varies based on regional spelling differences and grammatical context. Dependant is primarily used in British English as a noun to refer to a person who relies on another for support. In contrast, dependent is used in both American and British English as an adjective meaning reliant on something or someone. Understanding when to use dependant vs. dependent is essential for clear communication. For example, “She is a dependant of the state” uses the noun form, whereas “He is dependent on his medication” uses the adjective form.

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How do you use dependant in a sentence?

When to use dependant in a sentence refers specifically to its role as a noun in British English. This term is used to describe a person, usually a child or a spouse, who relies on someone else for financial support or care.

Examples of dependant in a sentence

  • As a single mother, she has two young dependants.
  • In the UK, a dependant can include elderly parents.
  • His dependants were listed in his insurance policy.

How do you use dependent in a sentence?

When to use dependent in a sentence is crucial as it serves as an adjective indicating reliance on something or someone. It is used widely in both American and British English.

Examples of dependent in a sentence

  • The project is dependent on funding approval.
  • She is dependent on her inhaler for asthma relief.
  • The outcome is dependent on several variables.

Dependant vs. dependent: Definition, parts of speech, and pronunciation


Part of Speech: Noun Definition: A person who relies on another for financial support. Example Sentence: “The insurance policy covers the employee and their dependants.” Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛndənt/ (British English)


Part of Speech: Adjective Definition: Relying on something or someone for support. Example Sentence: “Many elderly people are dependent on government aid.” Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛndənt/ (Both British and American English)

Dependant vs dependent in a nutshell

In summary, “dependant” is a noun used in British English to describe someone who relies on another for support, whereas “dependent” is an adjective used universally to indicate reliance. Choosing the correct term depends on whether you are using it as a noun or an adjective and considering regional spelling preferences. By understanding the difference between “dependant” and “dependent,” you can communicate more effectively and avoid common errors. For more information on commonly confused words, visit Commonly Confused Words. To learn about homophones and their distinctions, check out What Are Homophones?.

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