Words ending in –ance and –ence
In general, you'll need to remember how to spell these words (or else check their spelling in a dictionary). Here are some tips to help you remember:
Words ending in -ance
- If the word is formed from a verb that ends in -y, -ure, or -ear, then the ending will be spelled -ance. For example: alliance (from ally), endurance (from endure), or appearance (from appear)
- If the main part of the word (i.e. the bit before the ending) ends in a ‘hard’ c (pronounced like the c in cab) or a ‘hard’ g (pronounced like the g in game), then the ending will be spelled -ance. For example: elegance or significance.
- If the noun is related to a verb ending in -ate, then the ending is likely to be -ance, e.g. tolerance (from tolerate)
Here are some common nouns ending in -ance:
clearance; guidance; acceptance; relevance; ignorance; importance; resemblance; instance; allowance; insurance; distance; substance; maintenance; appliance; disturbance; assistance; nuisance; balance; fragrance; circumstance; grievance; dominance; attendance.
Words ending in -ence
- If the word is formed from a verb ending in -ere, then the ending will be spelled -ence. For example: reverence (from revere), adherence (from adhere), or coherence (from cohere).
Note that the word perseverance is an exception to this rule!
- If the main part of the word ends in a soft c (pronounced like the c in cell) or a soft g (pronounced like the g in gin), then the ending will be -ence. For example: adolescence or emergence.
Note that the word vengeance is an exception to this rule!
Here are some common nouns ending in -ence:
consequence; absence; convenience; preference; influence; presence; innocence; difference; recurrence; audience; reference; essence; evidence; affluence; insistence; sentence; coincidence; sequence; existence; silence; conference; experience; patience; confidence.