Do the phrases

It's permissible

It's permitted

mean exactly the same?

It is permissible to edit the source code

It is permitted to edit the source code

Do the two phrases above sound equally natural?


They mean roughly the same thing, but I think they emphasize slightly different situations. "Permissible" is an adjective, and "is permitted" is a passive construction. The passive construction somewhat implies that there is some authority enforcing what is and is not allowed. In other words, I would expect "it is not permitted" to be used when someone will actually stop you from doing whatever "it" is. However, they do really mean the same thing, so they can be used interchangeably.

"Permissible" means "able to be allowed", and "permitted" means "allowed". Again, there is a slight difference in the literal definitions of the words, but they both describe the same situation. The fact of whether or not something is allowed is a permanent characteristic of the thing (unless the rules change). For example, if dogs are permitted (or permissible) inside a building, that fact is true before a dog comes in, while one is inside, and after it leaves. This is different from similar word pairs like "inflatable" and "inflated". An inflatable chair is always inflatable, but it is only inflated when there is air inside of it.

  • Thank you very much! Could you please also add some explanation about why "permissible" and "permitted" mean the same? For example "editable" and "edited" have different meaning. – Alexey Jan 17 at 10:04
  • @Alexey I have edited the answer. – Tashus Jan 17 at 14:23

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