Valuable or invaluable?

18 Nov

Remember Gill and her Libro Holiday?  Well, I’m still working through the word pair suggestions she sent me after that!

Today, we’re going to have a look at valuable and invaluable. You might be thinking that this might be another pair like flammable and inflammable, that mean exactly the same thing. Well, not quite, this time.

Valuable means either worth a great deal of money or extremely useful or important.  “Meryl’s contribution to the meeting was valuable; she provided tea and coffee and took the minutes”.

Invaluable means extremely useful; indispensable – very valuable, if you will. “Valerie made an invaluable contribution to our awayday when she single-handedly saved our MD from drowning.”

So in this case, the in- prefix does its usual job of multiplying the meaning to become, well, more so.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


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