Different vs Various

1 10 2010

Try explaining that!

Is it “We offer different services” or “We offer various services” ?

I think both are correct, but the meanings are slightly different.

The former means: we offer services which are not the same as other people in the trade.

The latter means: we offer many kinds of service, with a lot of variety among them; service A, service B (not the same as A), service C (not the same as either A or B)… etc.

I don’t know.

Use vs Usage

29 09 2010

To put it simple (as nouns):

Usage: the way something is used

Use: the purpose for which something is used

It’s “dependent”, not “dependant”

8 01 2008

I can always tell that the author of a paper or an article is a French, if they write, for instance “the approach is technology dependant”, instead of “the approach is technology dependent”. The word “dependant” (with ‘a’) exists both in English and in French, but it has different meanings. Here’s the English definition from Cambridge online dictionary:

dependant, MAINLY US dependent
noun [C]
someone who depends on you for financial support, such as a child or family member who does not work:
    My pension will provide for my dependants.

In French it can be used as a noun (means someone who depends on, e.g. drugs), or as an adjective (means not independent). See for instance Wordreference.com.

The problem is that some (usually French) people use the English word “dependant”, in places where there is supposed to be adjective, as in the example above. So, when you write in English, as general rule of thumb, just remember: “dependant” -> noun, “dependent” -> adjective.