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Can I say "commentable and categorizable"? If not, what are some one word alternatives to use, to say that something can be commented on or categorized?

I would like to use the words for database column names, so there is no actual context. But if you want I could use this sentence:

The content is commentable and categorizable.

I just wanted to know if these words are acceptable terms or if I misunderstood something.

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Please give some context. – Eduardo Jan 10 '12 at 0:28
English is not just a big bag of words; asking about the adjectives is useless without some kind of context. What kinds of things are involved? Who's doing the categorizing? Who's doing the comments? Who's permitting comments on it -- and what's it, by the way? You've left out way too many words already; why try to pin it down to only one? This is not the way to be clear. Less is not always better; clear is better. – John Lawler Jan 10 '12 at 0:29
See my edited question. – sewo Jan 10 '12 at 1:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Categorizable is already in some dictionaries, so no problems there.

The problem with commentable is that what you really want to say is comment-on-able, but we can't use -able with phrasal verbs.

So here are your alternatives:

  1. Just say commentable anyway. If people understand what you mean, then there's no problem.
  2. Say comment-on-able.
  3. Find a one word synonym for comment on. I can't think of an exact synonym, but there are plenty of words that might be suitable, depending on context: e.g. discuss(able), criticize (criticizable), append(able), annotate (annotatable), etc.

Which you choose is a matter of personal taste and context. For example, if I was documenting computer software, and if the term comment was already widely used and understood, I would choose 1, because consistent terminology is more important than formal grammatical correctness.

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Thank you. Perfect answer for my needs, especially with that note for software purposes. But if use Nr.1 in a normal conversation apart software-design it would sound worse, is that right? – sewo Jan 10 '12 at 1:54
Yes, that's right. – Pitarou Jan 10 '12 at 11:33

If you follow the C++ practice of creating adjectives from verbs by tacking on the adjective suffix -able/-ible to create such words as

copyable, assignable, constructible, comparable, not to mention CopyAssignable and CopyConstructible

and you use commentable and categorizable in a similar context, people will have no trouble understanding what you mean.

If, however, you're writing in a context where the Grammar Police might jump on you, annotatable and classifiable are sanctioned alternatives.

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+1 for mentioning C++ practice , you make me smile. Although it will be better if you use C instead of C++, because these practices origin from C. – speedyGonzales Jan 10 '12 at 8:31
@speedyGonzales Interesting; I only became aware of the terms when I learned about the Standard Library and its requirement that objects put into containers be copyable and assignable... – Gnawme Jan 10 '12 at 17:14
@ Gnawme Well it seems it was unsuccessful attempt for a joke concerning C for the chicken and C++ for the egg. In my Advanced OOP classes, I remember that we have implemented almost all possible suffix algorithms. And I have passed them in Java. Is the language so important to you ? – speedyGonzales Jan 10 '12 at 17:34
@speedyGonzales "Is the language so important to you?" The English language, yes; the programming language, not so much. (Although I have many, many years invested in C++...) – Gnawme Jan 11 '12 at 1:13

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