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Words ending in -ance, -ancy, -ence or -ency

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Summary

Words ending in -ance, -ancy, -ence or -ency

In a nutshell

The suffixes '-ance', '-ancy', '-ence' and '-ency' are used to form nouns. Words with these endings often sound very similar but they are spelt differently. Words ending in '-ance' and '-ence' sound like 'unce' and words ending in '-ancy' and '-ency' sound like 'uncy'. 



The suffixes '-ence' and 'ency' 

The suffixes '-ence' and '-ency' are often used in nouns following a soft 'c', 'g' or 'qu' sound.


Examples

​​-ence

-ency

Innocence

Decency

Indulgence

Emergency

Sequence

Frequency


Verbs ending with '-ere'

The '-ence' suffix is used to change verbs ending in '-ere' into nouns. The final 'e' is removed and '-ence' is added.


Examples

Cohere becomes coherence.

Adhere becomes adherence.


Adjectives ending with '-ent'

The '-ence' suffix is also used to change adjectives ending in '-ent' into nouns.


Examples

Evident becomes evidence.

Patient becomes patience.

Confident becomes confidence.



The suffixes '-ance' and '-ancy'

The '-ance' and '-ancy' suffixes are used following most other sounds, but there are lots of words which don't follow any of the rules and these spellings must simply be learnt. However, if the base word is an adjective ending with '-ant', or a verb ending with '-ate', the '-ance' or '-ancy' suffixes are most likely used. 


Examples

​​-ance

-ancy

Significant becomes significance.

Expectant becomes expectancy.

Acceptant becomes acceptance.

Infant becomes infancy.

Tolerate becomes tolerance.

Hesitate becomes hesitancy.


Verbs ending with '-ure' and '-ear'

When the root word is a verb ending with '-ure' or '-ear', the '-ance' suffix is used to form a noun.


Examples

Insure becomes insurance.

Clear becomes clearance.

Disappear becomes disappearance.


Verbs ending with 'y'

When the root word is a verb that ends in 'y', the '-ance' suffix is used to form a noun. The 'y' at the end of the verb usually changes to an 'i'. 


Examples

Rely becomes reliance.

Defy becomes defiance.

Apply becomes appliance.


Tip: Lots of words do not follow these rules and you must simply learn how to spell them!


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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the suffixes '-ance', '-ancy', '-ence' and '-ency' used for?

When should the -ence and -ency suffixes be used?

When should the -ance and -ancy suffixes be used?

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