Monday, November 28, 2011

Word challenge!

Do you know the difference between --

impassable and impassible?

impartible and impartable?

forcible and forceable?

educable and educible?

(H/t Bryan Garner's Modern American Usage.)


  1. Dear me. Without aid, I will take a go at embarrassing myself ...

    Impassable = Obstructed (e.g., The route is impassable)

    Impassible = Susceptible to emotion (Jefferson was supremely rational, but could be impassible at times)

    Impartible = May not be divided (The joint interests are impartible)

    Impartable = May be bestowed (Title to the property is impartable, but subject to existing liens)

    Forcible = with the use of force (His entry was forcible; forcible rape)

    Forceable = susceptible to the use of force (The door was stout but forceable)

    Educable = susceptible to education (He may have been dumb, but he was educable)

    Educible = can be determined from evidence (That the speed of light is greater than the speed of sound is an educible fact)

    I had considered some feeble humor (e.g., "Missian Impassible") in lieu of a serious atttempt, but realized that my serious attempt would probably wound up being even funnier.

  2. Close, but I believe you have "impassible" backwards (think "passion" or "impassive").

    Good job, esp. on "educible." (Wiktionary has "Able to be elicited or evoked; Able to be deduced.")

  3. Believe it or not, I changed it to "Not showing emotion," but second-guessed myself and changed it back before I posted. That's what sheer guesswork will do for you.

    I had five years of Latin, three of French, and one semester of Greek, so I have a reservoir of word knowledge to draw on. Too bad students nowadays aren't required to do the same. It would do wonders for their ability to express themselves, particularly in comprehensible writing.

  4. [Comment deleted.]

    Okay, that's enough off-topic BS from you, B.S. Go crap in your own sandbox.

  5. If I'd taken Greek in college, I probably would be teaching Classics right now. But it was 8:00 in the morning, and while I was otherwise wholly without guidance in college, I was determined not to take any 8 a.m. classes.

    Thus I can blame my becoming a lawyer on sloth.