Most of the -able words were borrowed from French, and most of the -ible words were borrowed from Latin. Click on the link below to read more.
Can anyone tell me why some adjectives have -able as a suffix, while others have -ible? Does it have anything to do with the word's etymology?
Thanks very much. It's as I thought. I've now got Bart in my favourites!
When to Add -ible and When to Add -able
Here's a tricky question for you:
Why do some words add the suffix -ible and others -able?
A good rule of thumb is that if the root word is a complete word, you add -able
e.g. accept - acceptable; laugh - laughable; suit - suitable and so on.
If the word ends in y, change it to i e.g. justify - justifiable, and if it ends in e, you usually (but not always) drop the e.
e.g. believe - believable.
But ... if the consonant preceding that vowel is a g or a c, you keep the e. If you don't, the consonant would become hard, and the word would sound odd.
e.g. notice - noticeable; knowledge - knowledgeable.
And, if removing the e would change the pronunciation of the preceding vowel then you leave the e.
e.g. like (long i) - likeable; sale (long a) - saleable.
If the root is an incomplete word, you add -ible
e.g. vis- visible; tang- tangible; cred - credible.
Remember this by the two i's: Incomplete -ible.
That's a pretty easy way to work it out, don't you think? You'll find more helpful writing tips at www.write101.com
I'm not sure if that rule really works as I found this website looking for a rule due to a question about 'deductible' - deduct is also a complete word. Maybe the Latin and French bit helps though....