|The adjective (meaning reliant) is always|
She is a widow with ﬁve DEPENDENT
Iamabsolutely DEPENDENT on a
The noun (meaning someone who is
dependent) has traditionally been spelt
-ant. However, the American practice of
writing either -ant or -ent for the noun
has now spread here. Either spelling is
now considered correct for the noun but
be aware that some conservative readers
would consider this slipshod.
She has ﬁve DEPENDANTS/
|device/devise||DEVICE is the noun.|
A padlock is an intriguing DEVICE.
DEVISE is the verb.
Try to DEVISE a simple burglar alarm.
|diﬀerent from/to/than||‘Diﬀerent from’ and ‘diﬀerent to’ are now|
both considered acceptable forms.
My tastes are DIFFERENT FROM yours.
My tastes are DIFFERENT TO yours.
Conservative users would, however, much
prefer the preposition ‘from’ and this is
widely used in formal contexts.
‘Diﬀerent than’ is acceptable in
American English but is not yet fully
acceptable in British English.
|dining or dinning?||dine + ing = dining (as in dining room)|
din + ing = dinning (noise dinning in
|discover or invent?||You DISCOVER something that has been|
there all the time unknown to you (e.g. a
You INVENT something if you create it
for the ﬁrst time (e.g. a time machine).
|displace or misplace?||To displace is to move someone or|
something from its usual place:
A DISPLACED hip; a DISPLACED
To misplace something is to put it in the
wrong place (and possibly forget where it
A MISPLACED apostrophe; MISPLACED
|draft or draught?||A DRAFT is a ﬁrst or subsequent attempt|
at a piece of written work before it is
A DRAUGHT is a current of cool air in a
One also refers to a DRAUGHT of ale, a
game of DRAUGHTS and a boat having a
|drawers or draws?||DRAWS is a verb.|
She DRAWS very well for a young child.
DRAWERS is a noun.
The DRAWERS of the sideboard are very
|dual or duel?||DUAL means two (e.g. DUAL controls,|
DUEL means ﬁght or contest.
|due to/owing to||Strictly speaking, ‘due to’ should refer to|
His absence was DUE TO sickness. (noun)
The delay was DUE TO leaves on the
‘Owing to’, strictly speaking, should refer
to a verb:
The march was cancelled OWING TO the
OWING TO an earlier injury, he limped
However, in recent years, the use of ‘due
to’ where traditionally ‘owing to’ would
be required has become widespread.
Nevertheless, some careful writers
continue to preserve the distinction and
you may wish to do so too in a formal
|dyeing or dying?||DYEING comes from the verb to dye.|
She was DYEING all her vests green.
DYING comes from the verb to die.
She cursed him with her DYING breath.