Consider, for example, a forgettable novel. Now suppose you are starting a sentence that attempts to explain why the novel is forgettable:

"The __ of the novel can be explained by ..."

What would you use to fill in the blank? Forgettability? Forgetableness? Other suggestions? Forgettability feels right, but I don't think that is orthodox standard written English.


4 Answers 4


I would use unmemorableness. It isn't a common word, but typing it into google books brings up some hits, including some very close to the sense that you want to use it. For instance:

No amount of glossy window dressing by the director [...] can disguise the script's basic poverty of invention, its supreme unmemorableness.


I would restructure the paragraph, because "forgettability" isn't a true attribute of the book; it is only a subjective perspective. If you're arguing that the book is forgettable (and giving reasons why), you're defending the hypothesis that a significant number of readers are likely to forget the content shortly after having read it.

Therefore, why not express it directly.

I suspect that readers are likely to forget this book soon after having read it, for the following reasons ..

But, oops, when it is worded this way, there comes to light the a glaring problem with defending the hypothesis: you're claiming that the book is forgettable, yet you're about to base an argument on the book's content, whose structure you must remember at least coarsely to be able to discuss it.

Thus, you haven't forgotten the book; but you expect that you soon will, as will others who read it.

The only way to write this is:

I suspect that readers are likely to forget this book because ... oh dear, I just lost my train of thought. Something about an incredibly boring, dull book? But what book? Never mind.


  • Immemorable

    Not memorable; not worth remembering.

    "The immemorable nature/content/etc of the novel can be explained by ..."



Being empty, in this case, empty of value

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