Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

When you’re writing, have you always thought that whether a word ends in “ance” or “ence” is pretty much a guessing game? I did, until I started researching for this series. And I’m delighted to tell you that there is a little bit of logic in there, somewhere, after all. For some “ances” and “ences,” anyway. But let’s get the illogical ones out of the way first…

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

Whether we like it or not, correct spelling does matter. And not just in the supermarket…

Words that end in either Ance or Ence, for no obvious reason

Of course with English being English, there are some exceptions. Most of the grammar resources I checked out basically throw their hands up in the air and say “exceptions? Just memorise them.” So let’s start with those: there is no reason why they end as they do, other than the peculiarities of this crazy language.

Tip: rather than read every single one of the following, maybe a quick cut & paste to your “Ridiculous English Language” folder? Then scroll down. There are more cheerful goodies below…

Ance

abundance
disturbance
vengeance
nuisance
acceptance
fragrance
performance
acquaintance
grievance
perseverance
allowance
guidance
provenance
assistance
hindrance
relevance
attendance
ignorance
resemblance
balance
importance
resistance
circumstance
inheritance
substance
countenance
instance
utterance
distance
maintenance

Ence

absence
dependence
obedience
affluence
difference
patience
audience
eloquence
persistence
benevolence
essence
precedence
circumference
excellence
presence
competence
existence
sentence
conscience
experience
sequence
consequence
impertinence
silence
convenience
influence
vehemence
correspondence
insistence
violence

Now we’ve got those out of the way, let’s get a bit of sanity back in here.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
NB: Although I researched this topic across a number of websites, I am especially indebted to the Oxford Dictionaries Blog, from which I cherry-picked a lot of this information. If you have any questions about this topic or any one of hundreds of others based on the insanity of the English language, check this resource out. It’s superbly thorough and almost jargon-free.
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Writing words that end in Ance, for a reason

From verbs that end in y, ure, or ear
Examples (y) include: rely-reliance … ally-alliance … comply-compliance … and always changing the y to an i before adding the suffix.
Examples (ure) include: insure-insurance … procure-procurance … reassure-reassurance
Examples (ear) include: disappear-disappearance … clear-clearance … forbear-forbearance

From nouns connected with verbs ending in ate (mostly!)
Examples include: dominate-dominance … tolerate-tolerance … deviate-deviance

From nouns including a hard c or g
Examples include: arrogance … extravagance … significance

Writing words that end in Ence, for a reason

From a verb that ends in ere
Examples include: adherence … interference … coherence

From a verb that ends in er, with stress on its last syllable
Examples include: deference … deterence … conference

From a word with one of these syllables – vid, sid, fid or cid – at its end, before the Ence
Examples include: accidence … diffidence … providence

From a word with a soft c or soft g at its end, before the Ence
Examples include: convergence … diligence … emergence … innocence

More helpful resources to help you tell your Ances from your Ences

Dictionary.com
More Words (ending in Ance)
More Words (ending in Ence)

Good luck!

And if you have tips on how to remember whether you need and Ance or an Ence, do please share…!

Banana Skin words and how not to slip on them by Suzan St Maur

For more tips on basic grammar and spelling without (much) jargon on HTWB, click here.

You might also find this eBook of mine helpful.

<<<<<<<<<<<Click here or on the image to find out more.

 

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. I guess I memorized them a long time. I always won spelling bees in elementary school and have always been a prolific reader 🙂

    Speaking of spelling, I never know when to use a z or s (like above). I’ve always assumed the s is American and the z is British … but we use either one here in Canada …. oh well!

  2. Hi Trudy
    Interestingly enough, as far as I can see the “s” and the “z” have now switched places, with “z” predominantly being used in US spellings. My next book is being done by a US publisher and they had to switch all my British “s” words over.
    What I’ve been told about Canada is that British spellings are more popular on the east side, whereas out west people prefer US spellings. Have you heard that?
    And thanks for coming by! See you in August.
    Sz x

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