May 07, 2004


by Jeremy Blachman

I posted this at my solo blog, but then I realized it needs a home with comments:

/Includible/ or /Includable/ ??
/Excludible/ or /Excludable/ ??

Maybe this bothers me more than it should, but my tax casebook can't decide, and neither can I. I like them with the /a/ not the /i/, but I'm not sure if that's just personal preference, or I'm actually correct. Merriam-Webster online likes them both the same. Anyone?

May 7, 2004 11:30 AM | TrackBack

The /i/ looks awful. I am amazed they're both A-OK with Webster.

Posted by: Chris Geidner at May 7, 2004 11:48 AM

From what I can tell, the OED prefers includible to includable (calling the second a variant of the first). Excludable is listed, excludible is not.

Although this seems to be sitting on the fence, my guess (from the citations listed) is that /excludable/ seems to be chiefy American and /includible/ seems to be chiefly British.

Posted by: Craig at May 7, 2004 11:56 AM

Wow, now this is going to bother me as well. I always use the /a/ format, and I agree with Craig, the /i/ has a very British feel to it.

Posted by: Greg at May 7, 2004 01:17 PM

For what it's worth: American courts usually use the /a/ version (generally in the context of whether a certain period of time is "excludable" under the Speedy Trial Act).

Posted by: Ghost of Taft at May 7, 2004 01:35 PM

If you want to do this democratically instead of through the elitism of dictionaries, Google gives 33,500 results for includible, 28,400 for includable; 3,510 results for excludible plus a "Did you mean: excludable," 75,800 for excludable.

As usual, the people are inconsistent and don't know what they want.

Posted by: PG at May 7, 2004 02:30 PM

these are hard for me for two reasons. growing up in delmarva, all unaccented sylables are given the schwa sound, so -able sounds like -ible.
and i read a lot of british english, without knowing it has slightly different rules, so i'm fuzzy on the variants.

Posted by: arbitraryaardvark at May 7, 2004 07:56 PM

There is little logic in it, as far as I know, the preference between the -ible/-able suffix is not restricted by any sort of spelling rule (I may be wrong).

It stems from borrowing from Latin, mainly. See for a little blurb.

Posted by: General Mao at May 10, 2004 03:07 AM
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