From The Anglish Wiki

-bere originally meant -bearing, but extension of sense and reinforcement by Dutch/German has been used to mean that breakbere means can bear breaking (possibly rather probably), or breakable. -enly originally could be active or passive: swimmenly likely would've meant can swim, but breakenly likely would've meant can be broken or can break. The appearance of -bere could've limited -enly to an active sense, which, along with its form being independent, could stabilize it.

-er has been used to force active senses (with -ersome (tending to do) stronger than -erly (able to do)). -some has been restricted to a "Tending to" sense, to allow fragile (breaksome, or brittle) and breakable (breakbere) to be told apart. Also, some nouns inflected with -some, -y, or -ly can conflict with potential verb inflections. For example, even though blame is a subject dominated verb, blamesome probably feels close to blamable because of the noun blame, and lovely sort of means loveable, and fearsome sort of means fearable, all for the same reason. -ersome can always be used to force an active sense (oft- and past participle to force a passive sense), but consider if any alternatives like -ful (applying to the interfering noun) could be useful: fearful, loveful, blameful. Careful that some interfering nouns like bother don't follow the pattern. The "Giving" and "Inclined to" senses are essentially equivalent to this interfering noun sense.

There are alternatives to these, such as using -some, -y, and especially -ly (since German and Dutch can use their versions in more active senses than their -bere versions) more often, or coining or reviving suffixes like -ready, -right, -meet, -skill(y), -craft(y), -handy, -quick, -might(y), -can(ny), -lew (prone to), and so on. -enly could also be written -ingly or -endly.

Keep in mind that the negatives (adding un-) of "Able to" and "Tending to" are identical, since improbable and impossible are approximately the same. Translations in parentheses are have some attestations, but are discouraged. Also, a few verbs, like broil, are neither subject nor object dominant, since they have both senses attested in the intransitive verb. Be careful when, and most likely avoid, using -some in order to avoid confusion, instead relying on the unambiguous broilersome and oftbroiled.

Suffix Table[edit]

Sense Dominant Translation Stems Inflection Meaning
Able to Active Object -enly, -erly (-ly) bend, break, burn, sink breakenly "can break things"
Subject fear, speak, leave, wash speakenly "can speak"
Passive Object -bere (-(...)ly) bend, break, burn, sink breakbere "can break"
Subject fear, speak, leave, wash speakbere "can be spoken"
Fit to Active Object -erworthy keep keeperworthy "fit to keep things"
Subject blame blamerworthy "fit to blame things"
Passive Object -worthy keep keepworthy "fit to keep"
Subject blame blameworthy "fit to be blamed"
Tending to Active Object -ersome bend, break, keep, sink breakersome "tends to break things"
Obj w. I.N. -some, -y bother bothersome "tends to bother things"
Subject speak, think, leave thinksome "tends to think"
Subj w. I.N. -ful (-y) blame, fear, love fearful "tends to fear"
Passive Object -some, -y bend, break, keep, shine breaksome "tends to break"
Obj w. I.N. oft- + past ppl. bother oftbothered "tends to be bothered"
Subject speak, think, leave oftspoken "tends to be spoken"
Subj w. I.N. -some (-ly) blame, fear, love fearsome "tends to be feared"
Relevant to N/A -y, -some, -ly, -like fashion trendy "relevant to (certain) fashion"
Suitable to N/A season yeartidey "suitable for the season"
Giving N/A -ful, -some, -y, -ly pleasure winsome "giving pleasure"
Inclined to N/A peace frithful "inclined to peace"
Subject to N/A -ful, -bere, -ed tax tollbere "subject to being taxed"
Due to N/A reword pay yielding owed "due to be paid"

Other Ables[edit]

First, see if the sentence can be rephrased with can. If it can't, the phrase to be able could be replaced with phrases like to have the might. Maybe can be used a a particle, as in I might maybe go. Canny has been proposed to replace the adjective able as a whole. Allowing double helper/modal verbs, such as might can, has also been proposed to eliminate the need for to be able.

Might in particular (as mentioned in to have the might), as well as glewness and wherewithal, can be used for ability. Mighten can be used for enable, and unmighten for disable.


Active means tends to make things be done. Passive means tends to be done.

By verb[edit]

  • rise, sit, lie (down), fall (pure intransitive)
    • -enly: mixed possible: risenly, sittenly, lienly, fallenly
    • -some: mixed probable: risesome, sitsome, liesome, fallsome
  • crawl, eat, fly, listen to, sit on, bother, kick, read, speak, swim, think, raise, set, lay, fell (agentive ambitransitive or pure transitive)
    • -some: active: bothersome (tends to bother things), speaksome, thinksome, listensome, eatsome, raisesome, setsome, laysome, fellsome
    • oft- + p. ppl: passive: oftbothered (often bothered), oftspoken, oftthought, oftlistened to, ofteaten, oftraised, oftset, oftlain, oftfelled
    • eath- + p. ppl: passive: eathbothered (easily bothered), eathspoken, eaththought, eathlistened to, eatheaten, eathraised, eathfelled
  • bend, break, curl, feed, melt, slide, soften, spill, walk (patientive ambitransitive)
    • -making: active: bendmaking, breakmaking, curlmaking, feedmaking, slidemaking, spillmaking, walkmaking
    • -some: passive: bendsome (flexible), breaksome (brittle), curlsome, feedsome, slidesome, spillsome, walksome
  • keep (noun based, agent causing noun base is object)
    • -ful: active: fearful (tends to fear)
    • -some: passive: keepsome (tends to be feared)
  • anger (noun based, agent causing noun base is subject)
    • -making: active: angermaking (tends to cause anger) (angersome in Scottish)
    • oft-/eath- + p. ppl: passive: oftangered/eathangered (tends to be angered)
    • -y/-some: is angry
  • fear (noun based, agent causing noun base is object)
    • -ful: active: fearful (tends to fear)
    • -some: passive: fearsome (tends to be feared)
  • love (noun based, agent causing noun base is object)
    • -y?: active: lovey (tends to love)
    • -ly: passive: lovely (loveable, tends to be loved)

By suffix[edit]

  • -bere
    • Transitive: passive and possible sense (bearing --> can bear being done --> able to be done)
    • Intransitive: recommended to use -enly
  • -enly
    • Agentive: active and possible sense (able to do)
    • Patientive: same as -bere? or same as -doenly?
    • Intransitive: possible (can rise/can fall) - can also use -bere
  • -doenly (if -enly same as -bere in Patientive)
    • Agentive: usually not used, but same as Patientive
    • Patientive: active and possible sense (able to do doing)
    • Intransitive: not used
  • -worthy
    • All: passive and worthy (or "fit to", "suitable to") sense (worthy of being done)
  • -erworthy
    • All: active and worthy (or "fit to", "suitable to") sense (worthy of doing)
  • eath- + p. ppl
    • Transitive: passive and probable sense (tending to be done, easily done)
    • Intransitive: not used (use eath- + pres. ppl)
  • oft- + p. ppl
    • Transitive: passive and probable sense (tending to be done, often done)
    • Intransitive: not used (use oft- + pres. ppl)
  • -some
    • Agentive (kick, set, fell, flatter, hinder, irk, talk, work): active and probable sense
    • Patientive (bend, break, heal, quake, rattle, wrinkle): passive and probable sense
    • Intransitive (rise, fall): probable sense
    • Noun type one (fear): passive and probable ("tending to cause") sense - agentive verb
    • Noun type two (bother): active and probable ("causing") sense - patientive verb
    • Noun type three (dream): "pertaining to, like, indicating" sense - agentive verb
    • Noun type four (end): "pertaining to, like, indicating" sense - patientive verb
    • Noun type five (anger): "marked by, showing" sense - agentive verb
    • Exception: wield? (agentive, but patientive meaning)
  • -y
  • -ly
  • -like
  • -ful
  • -ing
  • -ed
  • -doing
  • -making