Beware The “ible/ables”

I have been plagued by the dichotomy of the “ible/able” words my entire life.  These are the words that, as little kids, we’re told  are the GPS to success.  However, by the time we become teenagers, we discover that these words are really a double-edged sword.  And then, as adults we realize that, at times, they’re just out and out lies.  Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

able

Sensible

What it’s supposed to mean Doing the proper thing.
What it actually means Staying home and studying for your algebra exam while all your friends are at a party so-o-o epic that they’re still talking about it 20 years later!  The one where some guy took your girlfriend, Monica Peters, home — and a week later she dumped you.

Reasonable

What it’s supposed to mean Looking at all facets of a problem or situation.
What it actually means You’re going to get your ass kicked trying to explain to the wannabe biker on the Harley that the horn on your fuel- efficient Ford Fiesta just gets stuck sometimes.

Capable

What it’s supposed to mean The ability to perform a number of different tasks or duties.
What it actually means You’re always given the crap jobs ’cause you’re the only one who knows how to do them.

Dependable

What it’s supposed to mean A consistency that people can rely on
What it actually means Guess who’s going to be the designated driver — again?

And finally

Responsible

What it’s supposed to mean Personally taking care of the things required of you.
What it actually means The night before the big meeting, you meticulously lay out your wardrobe, review your presentation, gather your notes, your charts, pens, paper, a pointer and another pen — just in case.  You arrive 15 minutes early.  Brenda arrives 10 minutes late, looking like she slept in her clothes.  She borrows your extra pen and some paper and scribbles a few lines while Dexter is rambling on about the “Mission Statement.”  Then, when you hesitate because you don’t want to look too pushy, she lays out the most brilliant proposal anybody in the company (including you) has ever heard — the bitch!

The “ible/able” words let you sleep at night, but they’re not very much fun.

11 thoughts on “Beware The “ible/ables”

  1. So it seems sort of what nowadays is called a bubble in economics?
    BTW can you think of anything that, when put to the test, after a while does not turn out to be a double-edged sword. Better be careful with those; they can make almost any bubble splash.

  2. You need to become acquainted with the in/un/ir preceding tribe 🙂
    And, really, I have never understood the spelling rules, why do some have “i” and some have “a”.

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