Collectible or Collectable: Noun vs. Adjective
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Collectible or Collectable: Noun vs. Adjective, and Usage in American, Canadian, British and Australian English

By Online Harbour
Updated: 19 June 2024.
Read more: House and Lifestyle

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Introduction: Collectible or Collectable

Unravel the confusion between “collectible” and “collectable”. This guide explains the difference in meaning, parts of speech, and spelling conventions across American, Canadian, British, and Australian English when referring to collector’s items.

When discussing items that are worthy of collecting, you will often encounter two similar but distinct terms: “collectible” and “collectable”. The confusion arises because they have different parts of speech and usages, along with some spelling variations between varieties of English.

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The Noun: Collectible

“Collectible” is a noun that refers to an object suitable for being collected, especially as a hobby. According to Merriam-Webster, a collectible is defined as “an item suitable for being collected.”

Examples of Collectible in Sentences

  • Baseball cards are popular collectibles among sports fans.
  • She has an impressive collection of vintage comic book collectibles.
  • Antique furniture pieces are highly valued collectibles.

The Adjective: Collectable

In contrast, “collectable” is an adjective used to describe something that is worthy of being collected or is a collector’s item.

Examples of Collectable in Sentences

  • These limited edition stamps are highly collectable.
  • The new line of superhero figurines has become a hot collectable item.
  • Some artistic glassware pieces are extremely collectable and valuable.

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Spelling Differences between Collectible vs. Collectable

To make matters more complicated, there is a spelling distinction between American and Canadian English, and Australian and British English when using these terms.

In American and Canadian writing, the preferred spellings are:

Noun: collectible

Adjective: collectable

However, in Australian and British English, both the noun and adjective forms are commonly spelled with an “a”:

Noun and Adjective in Australian and British English: collectable

Examples of Collectable in British and Australian English

  • His baseball card collection includes many rare collectables. (Australian/British English)
  • Those vintage film posters are highly collectable items. (Australian/British English)

The Bottom Line: Collectible or Collectable. Noun vs. Adjective

While the terms “collectible” and “collectable” are technically interchangeable as nouns in some contexts, it’s advisable to use them according to their specific part of speech and follow the spelling conventions of the variety of English you are writing in.

Adhering to these distinctions, using “collectible” as the noun and “collectable” as the adjective in American and Canadian English, while using the collectable spelling for both in Australian and British English, will ensure clarity and alignment with standard usage.

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