Language tip of the week: dependent

Posted by on December 06, 2011

In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip helps with the word dependent.

The usual preposition to use with dependent is on, not of:
✗ Women in those times were totally dependent of their husbands.
✓ Women in those times were totally dependent on their husbands.
✗ The organization of a society is largely dependent of its economic system.
✓ The organization of a society is largely dependent on its economic system.
You can also use the preposition upon, but this is much less frequent than on, and it sounds very formal.
Don’t confuse dependent (an adjective) and dependant (a noun).
✗ society’s stereotypes of women as weak, passive and dependant individuals
✓ society’s stereotypes of women as weak, passive and dependent individuals
A dependant is someone, such as a child or older person, who depends on their relatives for care, food etc:
special allowances for women who have to give up work to look after elderly dependants

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