Unit 33 - Spelling the word endings ant, ent, ance, ence

This Unit deals with words ending in ant, ent, ance or ence. These endings are usually an unstressed syllable, which means the vowel often has a schwa sound.

First, the ant and ent words:

    Help spelling English word endings ant ent ance ence Help spelling English word endings ant ent ance ence
ant as in contestant ent as in ornament

Teaching point Choosing the right ending is not easy, as they both sound the same in many words. There is only one clear rule to help you:

If the ending is the suffix ment, you know it is ent. For example:

agree + ment = agreement engage + ment = engagement
merry + ment = merriment govern + ment = government

There is no other way of telling which ending to use - you will need to rely on your memory.

Learning Tip for English spelling 1) Use your eyes to fix the words in your visual memory.
You probably know that restaurant ends with ant.
This is because you have seen the word many times.
Help spelling English word endings ant ent ance ence

To learn other words, practice them in groups of 4 or 5 with the same ending. Read each group many times, then write them using the "Look, say, cover, write, check" method,  or use our online "Look, say, cover, write, check" practice..

2) As you read and write, use a 'spelling language' and say the word as it is spelled:    

3) Sometimes you may be able to think of a related word in which you can hear a clear vowel sound. For example:
In ornamental, the syllable men is stressed, so you can hear the vowel e very clearly. This reminds you that ornament also has the letter e.
Some more examples
monumental > monument
confidential > confident
instrumental > instrument

4) If you are unsure, check in a dictionary. As the word endings are the problem here, it will be easy to find the words.

next part of the spelling course Go to the next page:
Lists of some common -ant and -ent words.
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Unit 33: Spelling the word endings -ant -ent -ance -ence
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The suffix -ment