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I came across 'resemblance' spelled as 'resemblence' in a set of Proficiency tests printed by Cambridge University Press. Since this spelling was kind of an eyesore, I looked it up and never found any other spelling that the one I am familiar with - that is, with -ANCE. Is this a typo?

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Yes. It's resemblance, as your dictionary searches attested.

Unfortunately, in this particular contest there are no rules. Both come from the same sources; some words match the French, some words match the Latin the French is derived from. Often the two match; in other cases they don't.

-ance
From French -ance, from Latin -antia, -entia (from present participial stems -ant-, -ent-).

-ence
From French -ence, from Latin -entia, -antia (from present participial stems -ent-, -ant-). Since the 16th century many inconsistencies have occurred in the use of -ence and -ance.

— Oxford via Lexico

However, in this case, it's actually consistent as the French and its ultimate Latin root has -a-.

resemblance
Middle English from Anglo-Norman French, from the verb resembler (see ʀᴇsᴇᴍʙʟᴇ).

resemble
Middle English from Old French resembler, based on Latin similare (from similis ‘like’).

— Oxford via Lexico

  • Yes, I'm aware of that; I even thought this was some Frenched spelling version and looked up 'ressemblance' in French, thinking it might be spelled with E, but no, it wasn't. In the Answers section of the book, they write -ANCE, so I guess it must be a typo. Kinda sloppy, though, how Cambridge University Press allows their printers to have typos in testbooks. – Phi Kay Jul 6 at 19:04
  • It's always impossible to proof-read your own stuff, but I would have expected CUP to have professional proof-readers, too. (Your question is still useful, because it allows this answer to be made saying there are no rules, and you can't even really rely on the Latin.) – Andrew Leach Jul 6 at 19:07
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Apparently it IS a typo since the Answers section of the book has the correct spelling of the word.

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