Dependant - dependent
They sound exactly the same. They mean more or less the same. But it is important to the academic mind (and to anyone who cares about correct English) to distinguish between
- dependant, which is a noun - a person; someone who depends on someone else; and
- dependent, which is an adjective - a describing word.
A person with children is said to have dependants: the children are dependent on the parent.
Among related words, independent (one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP) is always with an '-e-', whether adjective or noun; and dependence and independence (preferable to dependenc
y and independenc y) are also spelled with '-e-', not '-a-' at the end.