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Difference Between Able and Ible

Difference Between Able and Ible and Compare the Difference Between Similar Terms
Today we will talk about the Difference Between Able and Ible and Compare the Difference Between Similar Terms


Able vs Ible

Learn many things in English. There are many complex principles regarding the proper use of prefixes and suffixes. 

Related to the latter, there are often two suffixes that are confused with each other. These are suffixes for "able" and "ible".

For those who are used to writing in English, it is not difficult to distinguish when to use another language. Once you get used to it, you don't need to pay attention to the rules behind usage. 

But for starters, there are some rules to follow when using the suffixes "able" and "ible" with certain roots.

  • Rule 1 – It is safe to add the suffix "able" if the root itself appears to be a complete word.

  • Rule 2 – If the root is not a fully spelled word, use the suffix “ible”.

These rules are best shown in the following examples. In the word "acceptable", the suffix "able" is used because the word "accept" as a root is a fully spelled word. So it would be inappropriate if people use "acceptable" like "acceptable".


For the second rule, the word "compatible" uses the suffix "ible" because the root word "compat" is not a complete word. That's why using the suffix "able" to "compat" makes the final word "compatable" also inappropriate.

  • Rule 3 – Still, if the root ends with the letter "e", remove that letter before adding "able", just like the word "advisable" becomes "advisable".

It is also said that the suffix "ible" is used for words with Latin roots. It is estimated that there are about 180 words with the suffix "ible". 

Some of the most common examples of words that use "ible" are: accessible, audible, combustible, understandable, irreversible, etc.

The suffix "able" can also be attached to Latin roots, but only in rare cases. This is the case for the word "dependent" and making it "dependable". 

Depend actually comes from the Latin word "dependere" which means "downcast". Conversely, the suffix "able" is more suitable for appending to non-Latin roots, such as washable and affordable.

However, it should also be noted that there are some exceptions to this rule. The words "visit," "contempt," "abstract," "bend," and "suggest" are best joined with the suffix "ible," even if those words are full root words. 

So these will become accessible, digestible, suggestible, flexible, and contemptible. There are some other exceptions not listed here.

Summary of Difference Between Able and Ible

  1. The suffix "able" is attached to a complete root, while "ible" is usually attached to an incomplete root.
  2. The suffix "able" is usually attached to roots of non-Latin origin, while "ible" is usually used with Latin words.

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