affable/ personable face

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redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
One of the benefits of social networking was how easy it made finding photos of people and intimate details they’d never tell the police face to face. He found the photo. He was not quite what he was expecting. It was a friendly, affable face.

Source: PUBLIC ENEMY ZERO By Andrew Mayne
Background: A detective asked an severely injured lady if she could provide a photo of her ex-boyfriend who she claimed had assaulted her and run away. She didn't have any on her, but she remembered that he was still on her facebook list. So she let the detective use her phone to look up her ex's photo on facebook. He didn't believe that beneath his friendly exterior lay the hateful soul of a man that bludgeoned and abused his ex-girlfriend.

Hi, I wonder if it's okay to replace "affable" with "personable". If so, is there any discernible difference in meaning between "affable" and "personable"?
 
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  • MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Background: A detective asked an severely injured lady if she could provide a photo of her ex-boyfriend who she claimed had assaulted her and run away. She didn't have any on her, but she remembered that he was still on her facebook list. So she let the detective use her phone to look up her ex's photo on facebook. He didn't believe that beneath his friendly exterior lay the hateful soul of a man that bludgeoned and abused his ex-girlfriend.

    Hi, I wonder if it's okay to replace "affable" with "personable". If so, is there any discernible difference in meaning between "affable" and "personable"?
    Affable and personable don't really mean quite the same thing. Here is one standard dictionary's (AHD4) explanation of affable:

    1. Easy and pleasant to speak to; approachable.
    2. Gentle and gracious: an affable smile.

    Compare that with what you may find for personable, and I think you will see that someone might be personable without being affable and vice versa.
     
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