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Which spelling is correct, "updatable" or "updateable"?

For example, "The file is not updat(e)able."

By the way, I did go to Google and ref.dic.com for this first, and they both seem to indicate that both spellings are correct. If they are indeed both correct, which is more widely accepted?

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Google Ngrams shows that updatable is currently much more prevalent:

Updateable vs Updatable

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    Never heard of Ngrams. That's pretty cool. Thanks. – Nick Rolando Jan 31 '12 at 1:04
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    Of course, Ngram doesn't show the literacy of each group of people... I'd prefer to go with the literate, not the mass. – Bill Kotsias Mar 7 '18 at 6:23
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    @Bill Kotsias How do you decide who the literate are? What if there are significant differences in the usages among US / Australian writers? Between OUP and CUP? – Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 14:10
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You'll be in fine company either way. I looked thru some technical books online and found both widely benoted.

For me, updateable is the better choice but, as I said, either one is good.

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  • Yeah. As seen in the graph in @Gnawnme's answer, it is used quite a bit! Only half as much as updatable though. – Nick Rolando Jan 31 '12 at 17:27
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    If yu look at an ngram comparing knowledgeable and knowledgable, yu'll get an even bigger gap yet both are acceptable spellings. I like updateable for two reasons: 1. upgrade > upgradeable therefore update > updateable 2. The a is ā (long), the 'e' keeps this ... updatable looks likes up-data-ble to me. We see this (e)able choice in lots of words. There's no right or wrong here ... only a preference – AnWulf Feb 1 '12 at 3:27
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Updatable vs updateable:

Both of them are correct and acceptable.

Google Ngram shows updatable is more prevalent than updateable.

enter image description here

However, the plausible answer would be: if the removal of final e from the base word changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant, it's often incorrect and unacceptable but if its removal does not changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant, it's usually correct and acceptable. (There are loads of exceptions, however.)

'T' gives the same sound /t/ before both 'a' and 'e', so it's OK to remove the final e from 'update' when it's suffixed. Updateable and updatable - both have /t/ sound (the removal of e does not change the pronunciation of the base word 'update') so both of them are correct and acceptable.

Explanation with examples:

1.

If the removal of final e changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant, then the spelling without e is often incorrect and unacceptable.

Examples:

  1. Notice + able -> noticeable not noticable because the removal of final e changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant (i.e. changes /s/ of 'notice' to /k/ -- 'c' often gives /s/ sound before e and gives /k/ sound before a).

0 results for 'noticable': enter image description here

  1. Manage + able -> manageable not managable because the removal of final e changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant (i.e. changes /dʒ/ of 'manage' to /g/ -- 'g' often gives /dʒ/ before e and gives /g/ sound before a).

0 results for 'managable': enter image description here


2.

However, if the removal of final e does not change the pronunciation of the preceding consonant, both spellings (with and without e) are usually correct and acceptable.

Examples:

  1. Love + able -> loveable or lovable - both are correct and acceptable because 'v' gives the same sound /v/ before both 'a' and 'e'.

enter image description here

  1. Trade + able -> tradeable or tradable - both are correct and acceptable because 'd' gives the same sound /d/ before both 'a' and 'e'. (I've explained 'tradeable and tradable' in this question.)

enter image description here


However, words that end with '-seable' are not very common.

Examples: Usable and useable:

enter image description here

Confusable and confuseable:

enter image description here


Response to a comment by Edwin Ashworth:

Lots of research and reasonable analysis. However, your 'rule' allows for noteable as well as "notable_; Wiktionary labels this 'a common misspelling', and it does not appear in CED, M-W

This guideline is merely for words having the suffix '-able'. Notable is directly derived from Latin word 'notabilis'.

Notable: mid-14c., "worthy of note, important, praiseworthy," from Old French notable "well-known, notable, remarkable" (13c.), from Latin notabilis "noteworthy, extraordinary," from notare "to mark, note, make a note," from nota "mark, sign, means of recognition" - Etymonline


This is not a 'rule'.

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  • Lots of research and reasonable analysis. However, your 'rule' allows for noteable as well as "notable_; Wiktionary labels this 'a common misspelling', and it does not appear in CED, M-W .... – Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 14:18
  • @EdwinAshworth, Good point! (by the way, I've never said it was a 'rule' since there are loads of exceptions) – Decapitated Soul May 10 at 14:21
  • " 'If the removal of final e changes the pronunciation of the preceding consonant, then the spelling without e will be incorrect and unacceptable' is not a rule" is infelicitous. – Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 14:35
  • @EdwinAshworth, It seems to me that able is not a suffix in 'notable'. Notable: mid-14c., "worthy of note, important, praiseworthy," from Old French notable "well-known, notable, remarkable" (13c.), from Latin notabilis "noteworthy, extraordinary," from notare "to mark, note, make a note," from nota "mark, sign, means of recognition" – Decapitated Soul May 10 at 14:57
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    Quite possibly. I see you've amended the 'rule' to the usual 'rule of thumb' English abounds in. – Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 15:15
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enter image description here

Google gives 1,120,000 for "updatable"

enter image description here

Google gives 619,000 results for "updateable"

Both are adjectives and right. You can use both. "Updatable" is more common than "updateable".

I prefer updateable, because the E after the T indicates that the first A should be pronounced as [ei]. In some places the word data is pronounced [d?ta], so for them the spelling updatable might be confusing.

I think which form of that term you use depends on the context and its part of speech in the sentence. In the predicate, it’s smoother to say not updateable, as in “The program is not updateable.” However, when you need an adjective before a noun, I have no problem with non-updateable in a technical context — Source

"updateable" is the alternative form of "updatable" — YourDictionary

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