How -Able Lets You Expand Your Descriptive Abilities


-Able is a cool suffix that allows you to describe things in new and interesting ways. Adding -able to a word makes it into an adjective that indicates something or someone is capable of or worthy of something. For instance, if a doughnut is dunkable, that means it can be dipped into a cup of milk or coffee.

Verbs With -Able

You’ll most often see -able being used with verbs. A fun thing about this suffix is that you can even use it to make unusual or unconventional words. Because of this, -able is known as a productive suffix.

For example, you could say, “This coffee is bland, but drinkable,” which would mean that it’s possible to drink the coffee, even if it doesn’t taste that great. The adjective drinkable is a new word created from the verb drink. Just thinking about this example, you can probably come up with a bunch of other uses for this trick.

Nouns With -Able

When you add -able to the end of a noun, it makes an adjective that’s connected to the noun’s meaning. For instance, a peaceable gathering is calm and nonviolent, like the noun peace.

Now that you know a little bit about what -able can do, let’s move on and talk about just how to use it.

Words Ending in Consonants

You can add the -able to words in the same way you add other suffixes. When a word ends in just one consonant, you should double that consonant before adding -able. For example, regret would become regrettable.

As an exception, you shouldn’t double the consonant X. Tax just becomes taxable. Can we agree taxxable looks a little funky? X’s are weird.

If a word already ends in two consonants, you don’t need to make any changes before adding able. In this way, predict turns into predictable.

Words Ending in Silent E

If a word ends with a silent e, drop it before attaching -able. For instance, note becomes notable, and value becomes valuable.

Words Ending in Y

When a word ends with a consonant and a Y, you should first change the Y to I, and then, tack on the suffix. So, envy becomes enviable. However, when there’s a vowel right before the Y, you don’t need to change anything. You can just add the suffix. That’s why enjoy becomes enjoyable.

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