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The “able” Spelling Rule

“able” Spellings

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Common Core Language Standard: L.8.2c*

Pre-teaching: The “able” and “ible” suffixes are frequently confused by spellers. Both suffixes generally sound the same with the vowel taking the nasal short /ŭ/ schwa sound.

Definitions and Examples: End a word with “able” if the root before has a hard /c/ or /g/ sound (despicable, navigable), after a complete root word (teachable), or after a silent e (likeable).

Of course… What would a spelling rule be without a few exceptions?

collapsible, contemptible, irresistible, memorable, portable, probable, capable

Spelling Rule Song: (to the tune of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”)

Base words add “able” to the end,

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,

As do word parts,

That’s my name, too.

That end in silent e

Whenever we go out-

Or with hard c or g

The people always shout,

But for all others add “i-b-l-e”.

Saying, “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”

Check out the spelling song: The “able” or “ible” Spelling Rule

Practice: What’s right and what’s wrong according to the rule? Every applicable rule has been applied to eligable and agreeable citizens. The changable nature of our laws can be frustrating.

Formative Assessment Dictation: His likeable and huggable granddaughter felt comfortable in his home and invincible on the volleyball court.

Related Language Standards: The Vulgar “a” Spelling

*Suggested Grade Level

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the
Common Core grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary Standards. Diagnostic assessments and targeted worksheets help your students catch up while they keep up with rigorous grade-level direct instruction.

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