order » able

Chiefly in:   in able to

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • “And in able to move on, we need to let go of the past and accept that life is not always fair. We need to accept every circumstances that are hanging in …” (link)
  • “… must be a Sop or founder in able to add/delete Aops.” (link)
  • “The MEA (Mail Encrypting Agent) may wish to keep outgoing messages for a limited time, in able to handle bounces and produce something meaningful.” (link)

Pointed out to me by Lia Carpeneti on 6 May 2005, who reported a very long discussion with friends about the acceptability (and form) of this expression. Could be a blend of “in order to” and “to be able to” (or, as David Romano suggests in a comment, a telescoping of “in order to be able to”), maybe with some contribution of “enable” to the mix. In any case, “able” makes more sense than “order”, so it’s in the eggcorn sphere.

Google provides thousands of examples. I swear I’d never heard (or seen) it before.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/05/06 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by David Romano , 2005/05/06 at 10:58 pm

    i think it is a shortening of “in order to be able to”, which may have been discussed when Arnold Zwicky and Lia Carpeneti were talking about it. all of the examples given would work if they were replaced with this. so maybe it’s not an eggcorn, just a convenient shorthand.

  2. 2

    Commentary by David , 2005/06/03 at 2:35 pm

    I guess that “enable” lies somewhere in the background of this eggcorn.

  3. 3

    Commentary by Kevin , 2005/10/03 at 1:00 am

    “Well, in able for us to…” When someone questions the method to my
    madness I’m apt respond thus.

  4. 4

    Commentary by Kevin , 2005/10/03 at 1:13 am

    I’m Kevster in the link. “in able” sounds alright to me but looks odd.

    That’s why I’m here.

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