Commonly Confused Words
Understanding the nuances of this word pair, indeterminate and indeterminable, hinges on understanding the words' parts. The root word, determine, means to establish something. The prefix in- in this case means not. Both –ate and –able create adjectives, -ate meaning having the characteristics of and –able meaning to be able.
Indeterminate, then, means not (in-) having the characteristics of (-ate) being fixed (determine): not fixed. Indefinite. Not determined. As in:
Prisoners on indeterminate sentences 'left in limbo' over parole dates
A man of indeterminate age peeks out of a cut-glass window.
For no discernibly good reason, I am back on Twitter for an indeterminate period of time.
Indeterminable means not (in-) able to (-able) establish (determine): incapable of being fixed or determined. Such as:
This equated to 1082 votes for and 102 against, with two ballots indeterminable.
However, there are those movies that fall into that rare category of indeterminable.
I said before how if B existed inside of the mold by itself, B's size would be indeterminable because it rests inside of infinity, which it can't be compared to.
Remember: if something isn't fixed, it's indeterminate. If it can't be fixed, it's indeterminable.
The adjective indeterminable describes something that can't be known for sure, like what grade you would’ve gotten on a paper you never turned in. Continue reading...
Indeterminate means not known or decided. When someone contracts a rare stomach parasite but has not been traveling internationally, you might say it had indeterminate origins. Continue reading...