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Movable or Moveable

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Some adjectives can be really tricky due to their derivation rules. And especially if there are more versions, as in the case of “movable” and “moveable”, or “lovable” and “loveable”, you can get really confused.

So are they correct or misspelled? Let’s analyze “movable” and “moveable” a little more carefully in order to get a clear idea about the way we can use them correctly in daily conversations.

Movable vs. Moveable

Derivation is one of the most important methods of enriching the English vocabulary, and “-able” is a suffix often used to create adjectives from verbs or nouns, with the sense of “capable of “. In the case of the verb “to move”, adding the suffix “-able” creates the adjective describing something capable of moving. Eventually, this is also the definition that “movable” has in dictionaries – able to be moved.

“Moveable”, anyway, is another spelling for “movable”. In the end, none of these versions can be considered wrong, even though “movable” is significantly more often used and preferred nowadays than “moveable”.

When do we use “movable”?

“Movable” is the most frequently used adjective to describe something able to move in today’s English language, in its all varieties, whether it is British English or American English. To answer the question above, it is recommended that you always use “movable” as the preferred spelling.

When do we use “moveable”?

“Moveable” is the older version of “movable”. Even though it’s not considered a misspelling, and even though some British English speakers prefer this longer version, usually “movable” is preferred by every specialist and English user. There is no specific situation where “moveable” is recommended instead of “movable” nowadays, unless it’s your personal preference.

Conclusion

Both adjectives, “movable” and “moveable”, are grammatically correct. The difference, anyway, is that “moveable” is old and almost out of use, only preferred by few British speakers. But mainly and generally, all English speakers, from all areas, use “movable” nowadays – this is also the recommended spelling to choose for conversations nowadays.

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2 Comments
  • jsuter4444
    A reasonable-sounding response, though not very enlightening.
    LikeReply26 days ago
  • BarryO
    On yer bike! It's an Americanism, adopted by other English speaking countries because Americans say it's correct. It's like saying color is correct when it's just an abomination of an adopted misspelling, or like using period instead of full stop. Language is integral to culture and God knows the English have been guilty of their own abominations when it comes to, say, the repression of Scots Gaelic, Welsh and Irish. But "moveable" means you can move it and movable means you can mov it. You can mov it if you like, but I like to move it, move it - and I am not moved by your argument. 
    LikeReply 18 months ago

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