-nce - -nts

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This page is likely to change in the near(-ish) future - for an explanation, see the account in the category page at Category:-nce - -nts.

Words ending in -nce with partners ending in -nt (and -nts in the plural form one of a number of groups of words in English that lead to confusion, perhaps more among non-native speakers than among those who learnt it as a mother tongue. They are generally derived from Latin words, although a few have been formed on this model without themselves having existed in Latin. (Some words that may appear to fall into the pattern are purely co-incidental.)

There is a Table listing some of the words that fall into this pattern at -nce - -nts (Table).

In general, the difference between the word endings -nt and -nce is based on the word class of the root. (The differences in the vowels are due to the differences between different conjugations, or classes, of verbs: these have no relevance in English.) In Latin grammar,

Where there is a confusion between the two types of ending, it is usually between the abstract noun (ending in -nce) and the plural of the agent (ending -nts), because in all but the most careful speech, these are homophones. There is a table of some commonly confused words of this sort at -nce - -nts (Table). The -nt words listed are mostly adjectives as well as nouns, and so are listed in the singular form, without '-s'. But the biggest problems come when they are used in the plural, as nouns.

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