Dependant and dependent sound similar when spoken, and they look almost identical. But these are distinct words referring to different things. Furthermore, whether you are following American or British convention impacts which word choice is appropriate for your writing. In this blog I will briefly explain the difference between dependant and dependent, and explain the difference in usage between American and British English.
Dependant is a noun and refers to someone who depends on someone else. For example, “taxpayers can pay less tax for each dependant they have”.
In contrast, dependent is an adjective meaning supported, determined, influenced, or controlled by someone or something. For example, “you should not take too many sleeping pills; you don’t want to become dependent on them”.
In American English, both the noun and the adjective forms – explained above – are spelled dependent. However, in British English, the noun is spelled dependant, and the adjective is spelled dependent.
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