-ance vs -ence endings

Have you ever had problems figuring out which ending to use? -ance vs -ence can be one of the hardest because they sound almost identical. Generally it helps to think about the word that you are using the ending on and sometimes that can help you decide (like independent would have -ence because of the “dent” part of the word), but there are many times where it can be hard to decide! Although there is little repercussion when you are speaking (as they sound pretty much the same) it can become a big problem in your writing. Here are a couple examples to help you remember.


The -ance ending is generally included on words that have -y, -ure, -ear, or -ate endings before conjugating them. This includes words like comply, assure, clear, and hesitate.


The -ence ending is generally included on words that have -ere or -er endings. This includes words like adhere or confer.


Unfortunately there are several other rules and exceptions that can make it hard to remember. Fortunately for all of us, spell check generally catches these types of errors. However, if you have a written test or need to take hand-written notes, these couple tips and the links below with more information can help you to remember.

Resources I used that have more information:

OxfordWords Blog
Daily Writing Tips