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Movable or Moveable

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, which consists of portraits of famous literary expatriates and sketches of the author’s life as a young man in Paris, is a fascinating read for anyone interested in Hemingway or the American literary golden age of the 1920s and 1930s. Many readers are perplexed by its title, though. A Moveable Feast seems, at first glance, to contain an obvious spelling error. Would a careful editor have used moveable or movable in the book’s title? Both of these spellings have been used in published books, but one is older and the other more modern.

In this post, I will compare movable vs. movable. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, and I will outline which is the modern spelling that you should use in your writing. Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that you can use to decide between these two words in the future.

Origin:

The word moveable originated from late Middle English: from Old French, from moveir ‘to move’.

Movable as noun:

The word movable is used as a noun in English language where it means property or possessions not including land or buildings.

In many cases the movables are the facilities and stock-in-trade of a business.

Moveable as adjective:

Movable is also used as an adjective in English language where it means something that is capable of being moved.

They stripped the town of all movable objects and fled.

Use of movable:

Movable, without the e, are the new spellings of the word and are used almost everywhere.

Examples:

The driver’s seat in my car is movable; I can slide it forward to give a tall person in the backseat more legroom.

The car may be broken down, but is it still movable if we get out and push?

Designed for commercial settings, the system behind the hidden pool, known as a movable floor, is now being adapted for residential use by a handful of manufactures. –The Wall Street Journal

Use of moveable:

Moveable is a spelling variant of movable. It means the same thing and can be used in all of the same contexts. Moveable is an older spelling, but since the middle of the 19th century, movable (with only one e) has been the standard spelling in both British and American English.

Example:

A Moveable Feast is on top of my reading list.

Moveable or movable:

Movable and moveable are two spelling variants of the same adjective, which means able to be move or repositioned. Moveable was more common until the mid-19th century. Today, movable is the standard spelling. To conclude, use movable in every context except in reference to specific literary works, like the Hemingway memoir A Moveable Feast.

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