Sizable or Sizeable: What’s the Difference?

Suffixes in English can be confusing. A suffix is a modifier attached to the end of a word. Suffixes can change the meaning of a word and even allow it to be used as different parts of speech.

One common suffix, -able, changes a verb into an adjective. Something which can be fixed is fixable, for instance; someone who is easy to get along with might be described as relatable.

This suffix isn’t always so straightforward, though. What happens when a word ends in -e, like size? When we add -able, should the E be omitted, or retained? Is the correct word sizeable, or sizable?

What is the Difference Between Sizable and Sizeable?

In this post, I will compare sizable vs sizeable. I will use each of these words in a sentence.

Plus, I will describe a helpful mnemonic to use when you can’t remember whether sizable or sizeable is appropriate, depending on your intended audience.

When to Use Sizable

Define sizeable and define sizableWhat does sizable mean? Sizable is an adjective. It means relatively large or substantial.

For example,

  • A sizable portion of the proceeds will be donated to an international disaster relief fund.
  • The visiting baseball team would be at a sizable disadvantage if the game went into extra innings; their pitching staff has been depleted by injuries.
  • Investors who bought into the company in late 2014 or early 2015 will incur a sizable loss when the merger is finalized.
  • President Kersti Kaljulaid appointed a 15-member Cabinet led by Prime Minister Juri Ratas, the new chairman of the Center Party that has traditionally been favored by Estonia’s sizable ethnic-Russian minority. –The Washington Post

When to Use Sizeable

What does sizeable mean? Sizeable is an alternate spelling of the same word. It can be used in all the same contexts as sizable, and has the same meaning.

Sizeable is standard in British English, while sizable is standard in American English. In the charts below, you can see the rate at which each word appears in each corpus.

sizable versus sizeable

The above graph charts sizable vs. sizeable in American English.

Definition of sizeable definition and definition of sizable definition

As you can see with this graph that charts the same two words in British English, British writers have a clear preference for sizeable, while American writers have a clear preference for sizable.

These graphs aren’t scientific or perfect, since they only count words used in English books written since 1800. Still, you can easily see which spelling is preferred in which language community.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Here is an easy way to remember sizeable vs. sizable.

You should use sizeable with British English audiences, and sizable with American English audiences.

Since there is only one letter separating the two words, remembering which spelling to use can be difficult. Luckily, the letter that makes them different is also the key to telling them apart. Since sizeable is preferred in British English, and contains the letter E, like England, you should have no difficulty reserving sizeable for predominantly British audiences.

Summary

Is it sizable or sizeable? Suffixes are useful tools to add versatility to commonly used words. Sometimes, though, they can make spelling confusing.

  • Sizable and sizsable are alternate spellings of the same word.
  • Sizable is preferred in American English.
  • Sizeable is preferred in British English.

Since sizeable contains an extra E and England starts with that letter, remember which word to use with which audience is simple.

Any time you need extra help with difficult words, or any other aspect of writing, you can check this site for help and guidance.