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Unit 27: Spelling the endings -able and -ible

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Unit 27: Word endings: -able, -ible

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Unit 27 - Spelling the word endings -able and-ible

A suffix is a letter or group of letters that are added to the end of a ROOT word to change its meaning.

Click here to hear the suffix -able or -ible.
Help spelling English words able Help spelling English words ible
comfortable horrible

Because the vowel sound in these suffixes contains the schwa sound (Unit 24), both end up sounding the same. This can make it difficult when it comes to spelling. Not only do they sound the same, but the suffix often means the same (‘can be’), so we cannot even look to the meaning for clues.

As -able is a more common ending than -ible, it could be useful to:

  1. Learn the -ible words you think you are going to use most often
  2. Use -able for the others
  3. See whether the words fit the broad rules above
  4. When learning the spellings, say the words aloud and exaggerate the initial vowel sound of the suffix (horrIble; comfortAble)
  5. Use Spellzone to learn as many of each as you can!
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The Spellzone interactive course is intended to be used online and may not be printed.

One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

Terrie Penrose-Toms, Casterton College