Origins & Usage Notes

  • Both suffixes can be used to form adjectives (primarily, e.g. arrogant, convenient, convergent, obsolescent, errant, peccant) and nouns denoting an agent (e.g. agent, claimant, president, regent), instrument or material (e.g. coefficient, current, ingredient, secant, tangent, torrent), especially in Medicine (e.g. aperient, astringent, emollient, expectorant), and inanimate objects or abstractions (e.g. continent, deterrent, solvent, torrent).
  • Similar spelling rules apply to these words as to words ending in ance and ence, or ancy and ency. Some words can end in both –ant or –ent: they are both nouns and adjectives, and the spelling depends on their part of speech. Some examples are:
dependant / dependentdependent
independent, codependentindependent, codependent
pendantpendent / pendant
  • Also compare: assistant, persistent; attendant, superintendent.
  • Be careful with the following words; they may be formed from different suffixes that look like the –ant and –ent in this article: adamant, cormorant, (black/red)currant, decant, descant, pageant, peasant, pheasant, recant, truant, tyrant, warrant; accent, advent, assent, circumvent, (dis/mal)content, consent, convent, dissent, (non-)event, extent, indent, intent, (re)invent, mordent, percent, prevent, repent, (mis)represent, resent, talent, trident.

Word Formation Resource

4 Points

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