In English, verbs can be conjugated both in the active and passive voice. It makes it possible to distinguish who is doing the action and who/what the action is done on/against.


|                    | active voice          | passive voice               |
| infinitive         | to ride               | to be ridden                |
| present simple     | (the rider) rides     | (the horse) is ridden       |
| continuous present | (the rider) is riding | (the horse) is being ridden |

Also, the language makes it possible to turn verbs into adjectives, by adding the -able or -ible suffixes, to mean "that can be ...". But this only works for the passive voice.

Is there a specific suffix (or a word that can reproduce that) that can turn a verb into an adjective at the active voice, with the meaning of "that can ..." instead of "that can be ..."?


|            | active voice     | passive voice           |
| infinitive | to ride          | to be ridden            |
| adjective  | (the rider is) ? | (the horse is) rideable |

How would I say, with only one word, that the rider is able to ride a horse?

Edit: I'll give a bit more context. I'm a software engeneer and was looking for a way to name a file (short name for something that can do some thing). Found this question that is closely related to mine. I think I'll just go with "can" as a prefix for the verb (and "canBe" for more consistency). e.g. "canPrint" and "canBePrinted".

  • 1
    I don't think that there is a way to turn a noun into an adjectective in that way. The nearest thing that you can do (with some skill sets) is to use the noun. For instance you can say that someone is 'a rider', 'a driver', 'a coder', 'a cook' and so on.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 18:23
  • I agree and would say that in this case to say that the person is able to ride a horse you actually need two words to describe that person: "horse rider".
    – Phil W
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 18:40
  • 1
    It is quite unorthodox to call the -suffix "able/ible" a passive voice adjective. This is not well motivated linguistically. So, the paradigm shown at the end presupposes an analysis that doesn't really exist. But from the point of view of finding a word as a software engineer, I get the question. How about "can-ride", "capable-of-riding", "has-ride-skill" or "rid-er"?
    – Richard Z
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 18:52
  • "It is quite unorthodox to call the -suffix "able/ible" a passive voice adjective." I was implying that adjectives made using such suffixes have some kind of passive meaning. They don't "do" the action, they are the "target" of the action. The "can-ride" or "capable-of-riding" are examples I find the best. What about something like "ride-capabale". It still conveys the same meaning, but doesn't give the idea of a "specific case".
    – Ascor8522
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 19:10
  • Beware of assuming that productiveness is ungradeable. 'Decimate' probably sholdn't be converted to 'decimat[e]able'. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


There is no such word. We just use the appropriate noun.

The horse is rideable.

The woman is a rider.

The house is built.

The man is a builder.

Beyond that we would have to use a phrase, e.g.

The woman can ride.

The man can build.

  • While the noun is a good solution at indicating the author is capable of performing such action, it is still one "example" among other cases. I'm looking for a more "generalizing" word, probably something like "action-capable". Using your example, a builder can build, but other people may be able to build too, but probably aren't builders. There is a need to "dissociate" what the person really is (a builder) and what the person can do (build). Would talking about "build-capable" people make sense here?
    – Ascor8522
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 19:04
  • @ Ascor8522 - "a builder can build" - I didn't say that, you did. We don't say, "He is build-capable", we say "He is capable of building", or "He knows how to build", or simply "He can build" Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 19:36

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