Words Students Confuse - Depend

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,165 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited June 2017 in Grammar

Students often misuse the word "to depend"

First, the word is usually a phrasal verb (verb + preposition), for example: "We might go on a picnic today. It depends on the weather." Notice the word "it", which makes this sentence impersonal. For those who speak Latin-based languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese) it is a common mistake to say depends of.

Another usual way to use depend is to express doubt or uncertainty. Look at the following discussion:

Speaker 1. Are you going to the party tomorrow night?
Speaker 2. That depends.

Speaker 1 might reply, "That depends on what?" in order to find out what the possibilities are.

Depend on also has the meaning of "rely on". Example, "She depends on her parents to pay her rent." In this case, the person is a dependent, requiring the aid or assistance of another person. In this case, one person depends on another person or thing for something. 

As a phrasal verb, depend on can often be followed by another preposition. Look at the following examples

It depends on whether we have enough money or not.
That depends on if the supplies arrive on time.

Be careful about using the verb depend!

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