Is there any pattern to predict whether to use -ant or -ent, in words such as those below?

abundant / attendant / arrogant VS abhorrent / absorbent / dependent

I find -ent seems to be more common... Some associate -ant with noun and -ent with adjective, but that does not always hold.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 1
    No good pattern. I read somewhere that a lot of these words had their spelling changed at some point in an inconsistent way. example: dependent/dependant – herisson Aug 17 '15 at 22:41
  • 1
    @sumelic The pattern used to be whether it derived from a non-(Latin first-conjugation) verb for -ent/ence/ible, and this is still more true than false, but yes, they changed several of them like resistantpersistent (should both be -ent). – tchrist Aug 17 '15 at 22:43
  • Related. – tchrist Aug 17 '15 at 22:49
  • Similar to the -er/-or words, there is no good rule, though there are a few kind of general "tendencies" that have been observed. – Hot Licks Aug 18 '15 at 0:33