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  1. #1
    dotancohen is offline Newbie
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    Default When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    The ability to do something is often conveyed in English with either the suffix -ible or the suffix -able. In the absence of a dictionary, how does one know which to use?

    -able example:
    Accessible, not accessable.

    -ible examle:
    Cleanable, not cleanible.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    I don't know the answer to this buy I found the following:

    in Eng., -able is used for native words, -ible for words of obvious L. origin.
    -able | Define -able at Dictionary.com

    To make you more confused, there's also the suffix -ble

  3. #3
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    Mr_Ben is offline Member
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen View Post
    The ability to do something is often conveyed in English with either the suffix -ible or the suffix -able. In the absence of a dictionary, how does one know which to use?
    You read a lot and get to know which one "looks right." Sorry but unless you really want to study etymology this is the easiest way.

  4. #4
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamburg113 View Post
    Hi,

    Good ideal, pls try to keep posting. I like this topic very much and I will digged this one. Tks again.
    Is this some sort of a bot?

  5. #5
    dotancohen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    I don't know the answer to this buy I found the following:

    -able | Define -able at Dictionary.com

    To make you more confused, there's also the suffix -ble
    Great, thanks. I was hoping that there would be some sort of rule behind the matter. Though etymology does in fact interest me, I certainly will not make a profession of it.

    Is this some sort of a bot?
    Is that an allusion to The Naked Gun?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen View Post
    Is that an allusion to The Naked Gun?
    Just about: YouTube - Police Squad Bust

  7. #7
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen View Post
    Great, thanks. I was hoping that there would be some sort of rule behind the matter. ...
    Well there is, and it's been discussed here before. It has a few exceptions, but most of the time you can take it that when a -Vble word is based on a recognizable verb, use -able; when a -Vble word starts with a morpheme that can't stand alone as a verb, use -ible.

    So doable, laughable , manageable, reportable... from do, laugh, manage, reporrt

    But legible, horrible, susceptible, possible... because you can't leg, horr, suscept or poss.

    There are quite a few exceptions, mostly -able words: capable, culpable, laudable, malleable... Here, only a knowledge of etymology will help; briefly, they are often words derived from an original Latin -abilis, rather than words that had the suffix '-able' added at a later stage.

    But the exceptions are often words that English students won't meet anyway, so it's a fairly useful rule of thumb.

    b

  8. #8
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    There are also exceptions to the rule: when a -Vble word starts with a morpheme that can't stand alone as a verb, use -ible, for example:

    accessible, convertible

    As BobK said, it's easy with the words that were coined recently. "-ible" is generally a nonproductive suffix in English, so new words take "-able". The problem is with Latin words in which the suffix depends on which conjugation the verb belonged to.

  9. #9
    dotancohen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: When does one use -ible and when does one use -able?

    Thanks. I now see the "Similar Threads" links at the bottom of this page. I'll spend some time reading through them.

    Thank you!

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