you're reading...
Word comparisons

Note 78 – Dependent or Dependant

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 78, then please read on…

Using the words dependent and dependant

There is quite a distinct difference in the meaning of these two words, according to Pocket Writer’s Handbook (Penguin Reference Library) by Martin Manser and Stephen Curtis.  They state that in British English, dependent is an adjective (e.g. dependent on someone of something) whereas dependant is a noun (her dependant child)  

The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus helps by explaining that the adjective dependent is followed by the word ‘on’ or ‘upon’.  It also defines dependent as follows:

  • Depending on a person or things for aid, support, etc.
  • Influenced or conditioned (by); contingent (on)
  • Subordinate; subject

Examples in sentences:

1. He is dependent on Katie for support

2. Project A that I am working on is dependent on project B going live


Here are a few definitions of dependant in The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus:

  • A person who depends on another organisation or person etc., for support, aid or sustenance, esp. financial support
  • Relative
  • Hanger-on
  • Client
  • Subordinate

Examples in sentences:

1. I have two dependants in my family

2. He is a dependant of Martin

American English spelling

Please note that in American English the noun and the adjective are both spelt ‘dependent’. 

That’s all for today.  As always, I am happy to take requests on the subject of grammar/punctuationmmar/writing tips or similar.  

How was your weekend?  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Pocket Writer’s Handbook (Penguin Reference Library), Martin Manser and Stephen Curtis

The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 401 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 183,666 hits
%d bloggers like this: