Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
adjectives, ESL, suffixes
Which is correct?
|According to the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, evidence discovered indirectly as a result of an illegal method is not ______________.
Both -able and -ible mean able to be – in this case, able to be admitted – and they stem from the Latin abilis and ibilis, which both also mean essentially the same thing.
Able is what is known as a living or productive suffix. That means that new adjectives can still be created by adding able to existing words.
On the other hand, -ible can’t be used that way. If you know which adjectives end in ible, then you’re set. They aren’t making any new ones.
The Oxford Dictionaries blog offers a few tips on how to make an educated guess about ible vs. able, but none of the methods are foolproof.
They provide this table of common -ible adjectives:
Some of the spellings seem obvious and others less so. I feel compelled to admit that I had to look up admissible yesterday — hence the post.
Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar