Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes
Learning Goal: In today's lesson you will learn how a deeper understanding of roots, prefixes, and suffixes will help you become a more skilled reader. By learning the common roots and prefixes (and a few suffixes) you will be able to discern the meaning of many new words almost immediately.
Know this list of most common prefixes, suffixes, and root words for the quiz in this unit: (30-15-10 list)
How Words Work
Many words are made up of a root (or base word) and a prefix. Some words also have a suffix. For example, the root word port means to carry or to bear. Attach the prefix ex, meaning out or out of, and you have the word export, to carry out. Attach the prefix im, meaning in or into and you have import, to carry in. Attach the prefix trans, meaning across, and you have transport, meaning to carry across. Now let's attach the suffix able, meaning able to be, and you have importable, exportable, and transportable.The very words prefix and suffix are good examples, too. Pre means before and fix means to fasten or attach, so quite literally, a prefix is something attached to the beginning of something else. Suf is a variant of sub, below or under, so a suffix is something fastened underneath something else (in this case, behind the root).
By learning the common roots and prefixes (and a few suffixes) you will be able to discern the meaning of many new words almost immediately. (But do look them up for confirmation.) Take the word abject, for example. If you know that ab means away or down and ject means to throw, you can easily figure out that abject doesn't mean something happy. Rather abject's root meaning of thrown down is quite close to the dictionary defintion of cast down in spiritor sunk into depression.
Note that some modern words are formed by using abbreviated forms of other words. Thus, we see the use of the letter i for Internet in iPhone, iPod, and iTunes, indicating that these items or services work with the Internet. Similarly, the use of e for electronic appears in words such as elearning (and various forms: eLearning, E-Learning, and so on), e-commerce, and e-business. The "e-terms" seem to have been coined before the "i-terms" became popular. And note that most of the "i-terms" are trademarks, while the others are general descriptors: "I'm going to download some iTunes from Apple's e-commerce site because I love e-music." At any rate, these abbreviated forms are not traditional prefixes, but because they are indeed attached to the front of what amounts to root words, they could be considered functional prefixes.
Now give this word a try.
How can you break this word down?What parts/words/roots can you define? http://wordsmith.org/words/pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.html
Here are some other long words for practice.
- antidisestablishmentarianism 28 letters
- floccinaucinihilipilification 29 letters
- immunoelectrophoretically - 25 letters
- psychophysicotherapeutics - 25 letters
- thyroparathyroidectomized - 25 letters
- pneumoencephalographically - 26 letters
- radioimmunoelectrophoresis - 26 letters
- psychoneuroendocrinological - 27 letters
- hepaticocholangiogastrostomy - 28 letters
- spectrophotofluorometrically - 28 letters
- pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism - 30 letters