Posted by: Jack Henry | January 30, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Suffixes -able and -ible

Good morning. I am so excited about this post. I learned a new spelling rule; and I can’t believe I didn’t know this before!

I was typing out the word permissible and I couldn’t remember if the suffix should be –able or –ible. I often have trouble with words in this category, so I did some internet searching and found this simple rule that seems so obvious now.

First, a caveat—as with all English spelling rules, there are exceptions, but this rule takes much of the guesswork away.

For the most part, when the root word is a whole word, you can use –able.

· enjoy + able = enjoyable

· depend + able = dependable

And when the root word ends with an e, you can usually drop the e and add –able.

· value + able = valuable

· erase + able = erasable

Note: I noticed quite a few exceptions for words that end in e. I’m afraid we’ll just have to memorize them. Here are some examples:

· reverse + ible = reversible

· force + ible = forcible

When the root word is not a whole word, you will usually add –ible.

· elig + ible = eligible

· cred + ible = credible

Here’s a quick quiz I found on the Learn English website. Just determine which suffix to add using the rules above. I’ve supplied the answers after my signature. The quiz is for your own edification. You don’t need to send me your answers or your score. Good luck!

1. Predict___

2. Ed___

3. Poss___

4. Compat___

5. Comfort___

6. Desir___

7. Ador___

8. Access___

Is it weird that this rule makes me so happy?

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests


1. Predictable

2. Edible

3. Possible

4. Compatible

5. Comfortable

6. Desirable

7. Adorable

8. Accessible

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