Humanities › English Using Dependant vs. Dependent Share Flipboard Email Print Hero Images / Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated July 28, 2019 There's no problem here if you're an American: both the noun and the adjective are customarily spelled the same (dependent). But if you follow British spelling conventions, note the distinction between dependant (noun) and dependent (adjective). The noun dependant refers to a person who depends on someone else for support (usually financial support). Dependant is the standard spelling of this noun in British English. Dependent is the more common spelling in American English, though the word may also be spelled the British way. The adjective dependent (always spelled this way in both British and American English) means supported, determined, influenced, or controlled by (someone or something else). Examples "Most dependent [US] students cannot afford to pay for college on their own, without parental help. The definition of a dependent student for federal student aid purposes is different than the definition of dependent for federal income tax purposes."(Mark Kantrowitz, "Answers to Your Questions on Scholarships and Student Loans." The New York Times [US], November 18, 2011) "The amount of loan a dependant [British] student gets depends mainly on their parents' 'residual' income. This is their gross income before tax and national insurance after deducting allowances for, for example, payments into pension schemes, and £1,130 for any other financially dependant child."(Jill Papworth, "A Parent's University Bill: £650 a Month." The Guardian [UK], August 10, 2013)Fearful and anxious people sometimes become dependent on alcohol for relief from their symptoms. Practice Exercises: Dependant and Dependent (a) The applicant claimed to be a _____ of a deceased worker. (b) It's a myth that a breastfed baby will turn into an overly _____ child. Answers to Practice Exercises: Dependant and Dependent (a) The applicant claimed to be a dependant [British] (or dependent [American]) of a deceased worker. (b) It's a myth that a breastfed baby will turn into an overly dependent child.