Some English usage can look mystifying to outside observers. Often, though, even things which don’t seem to make sense on a superficial level actually do make sense after all. Invaluable and valuable, for example, seem to be opposites, but most English speakers and writers use them more like synonyms. This shouldn’t be possible, but as we will see, once you dig deeper into the literal meaning of these words, the reasons for this usage become clearer.
In this post, I will compare valuable vs. invaluable. I will use each word in at least one example sentence, so you can see it in its context. Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that you can use as a reminder of whether valuable or invaluable is a better word to choose.
Valuable as adjective:
Valuable as noun:
Invaluable as adjective:
We can’t lose our invaluable source of information.
Valuable or invaluable:
These words are close in their spellings and close in the meanings, but there are important nuances that you should learn as a writer. Valuable is an adjective that means expensive or precious. Invaluable looks like its opposite, but actually means too important to be assigned a value. It might be easier to think of invaluable as a rough synonym for innumerable, which means too great to be counted. Since both of these words begin with the prefix in-, remembering that invaluable describes something to important to be valued is much easier.