Difference between Dependent and Dependant

Key difference: In the British English, there is a minor difference between the two words. ‘Dependent’ is used as an adjective, whereas, ‘dependant’ is used as a noun. In American English, however, ‘dependent’ is commonly used as both.

Many people believe that the word ‘dependant’ is actually as misspelling of the word ‘dependent’. However, what they fail to realize is that they are both proper words. They sound the same and even look similar, except that one is spelled with an ‘e’ and the other with an ‘a’. However, the context that they are used in differs.

In the British English, there is a minor difference between the two words. ‘Dependent’ is used as an adjective, whereas, ‘dependant’ is used as a noun. In American English, however, ‘dependent’ is commonly used as both. ‘Dependant’ can still be used as noun; however, most people do not.

First let’s look as the definition of word. Dictionary.com defines ‘dependent’ as an adjective:

 
  • Relying on someone or something else for aid, support, etc.
  • Conditioned or determined by something else; contingent: Our trip is dependent on the weather.
  • Subordinate; subject: a dependent territory.
  • Grammar. Not used in isolation; used only in connection with other forms. In I walked out when the bell rang, when the bell rang is a dependent clause.
  • Hanging down; pendent.
  • Mathematics.
    • (Of a variable) having values determined by one or more independent variables.
    • (Of an equation) having solutions that are identical to those of another equation or to those of a set of equations.
  • Statistics. (Of an event or a value) not statistically independent.

Oxford Dictionaries define ‘dependant’ as a noun:

  • a person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support: a single man with no dependants

The correct usage of the words ‘dependant’ and ‘dependent’ can be better understood through examples. An example for both: A child is dependent on its parents. Therefore, a child is a dependant of its parents.

Further examples of ‘dependent’:

  • She is dependent on her friend for doing her homework.
  • I am dependent on the weather for a safe crossing.
  • Plants are dependent upon light for survival.
  • He has three dependent children.
  • He is dependent upon his mother.
  • He is drug-dependent.
  • Mike was dependent on his mother.
  • The states are dependent on the federal government.

Further examples of ‘dependant’:

  • She is a dependant; always relying on people.
  • In the military, a soldier's family is his dependants.
  • A man’s dependants are his wife and children.
  • He has three dependants.
  • He is a dependant of substances.
  • Mike is still a dependant of his widowed mother.
  • The states are dependants of the federal government.

Image Courtesy: imsubjecttochange.blogspot.com, prismvisas.com

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