Tag Archives: roots

WORDY WEDNESDAY: Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots, Oh My!

 When Joshua and I teach vocabulary, we try to do a few things:

1. Relate the word to anything we think the students might already know. (“Aquaduct? Well, you know what aquatic means, don’t you?”)

Of course, this is where we say, “You know more than you think you know!”

2. We ask the students if they can tell us anything about the word based on the context. Is it happy or sad? Is there a word near that word that helps you?

3. We help them examine the type of word it is. We say over and over to them that OUS words are often adjectives (delicious) and ATE words can often be verbs.

4. We help the students examine roots and affixes.
    a. Prefix–an affix (“stuck on”) to the beginning of a word
    b. Suffix–affix added to the end of a word

We also give the students tools all the time. Below is a list of prefixes and suffixes that we give to our students and discuss with them, along with their meanings.

Be a lifelong student! If you are an adult, these vocabulary tips will still help you every day.

(a)   GEN–birth, race, kind

generous, generate, generation, geneology, gender

(b)   DIC, DICT, DIT–tell, say, word

dictate, verdict, edict, contradict, predict, diction, indict

(c)    SPEC, SPIC, SPIT–look, see

perspective, aspect, spectator, spectacle, suspect   

(d)   SUPER, SUR, SUM—above

surpass, summit, supersede, superstition

(e)   TENT, TENS, TEND, TENU–stretch, thin

tension, extend, tendency, tendon, tent, distend

(f)     TRANS—across

transfer, transient, transitory, transgress, transport

(g)   DOC, DUC, DAC–teach, lead

conduct, document, doctrine, induce, indoctrinate

(h)   CO, CON, COM-with, together

company, collaborate, comply, congruent,

(i)     VERS, VERT—turn

convert, revert, subvert, divert, diverse, extrovert, versatile

(j)     LOC, LOG, LOQU–word, speech

eloquent, logic, apology, monologue, dialogue, prologue

(k)   SEN–feel, sense

sensitive, sensation, consent, dissent, assent, sentiment        

(l)     DE–away, down, off

denounce, defraud, decry, deplete, devoid, defile

(m) NOM, NOUN, NOWN, NAM, NYM–name, order, rule

anonymous, nominate, renounce, renown, misnomer         

(n)   CLA, CLO, CLU–shut, close

closet, enclose, disclose, include, conclude, seclude

(o)   VO, VOC, VOK, VOW—call

vocal, advocate, vocation, convoke, revoke, avow         

(p)   MAL–bad

malicious, malady, dismal, malign, malevolent

(q)   FRA, FRAC, FRAG—break

fracture, fraction, fragment, fragile, frail, fractious          

(r)    OB—against

objective, obsolete, obscure, obstruct, obstinate

(s)    SUB—under

submissive, subordinate, sublime, subtle, subversion       

(t)     AB–from, away 

abandon, abhor, abstain, absolve, abstruse, abstract 

(u)   GRESS, GRAD—step

progress, regress, gradual, digress, degrade, transgress

(v)   SEC, SEQU—follow

second, sequel, sequence, consequence, prosecute

(w)  PRO–much, for, a lot

prolific, profuse, prodigal, prtracted, prodigy, propensity     

(x)   QUE, QUIS–ask, seek

inquire, question, request, quest, query, acquire, querulous 

(y)   SACR, SANCT, SECR—sacred

sacrifice, sanctuary, sanctify, sanction, consecrate

(z)    SCRIB, SCRIP—write

scribble, describe, script, prescribe, ascribe, inscribe 

(aa)  PATHY, PAS, PAT—feeling

apathy, sympathy, empathy, antipathy, passionate

(bb)  DIS, DIF—not

disdain, dissuade, dismay, disparate, disparage

(cc) CIRCU—around

circumference, circulation, circumstances, circumvent 

(dd) NON, UN, IN, AN, A–no or not

nonviolent, uncooperative, inappreciative, anonymous 

(ee) AD–to       

adhere, adjective, addict, adverb                       

(ff)  INFRA—below

infrastructure, infraction, infrared, infra-bass

Wordy Wednesday–FACADE


You know what one of my least favorite words is? FACADE.

First of all, I work week in and week out to try to teach that an A, O, U, or most consonants make the C say “kuh.” That would make this word fuh-kade, right? (Or even fay-kade.) Unfortunately, that is wrong.

It is pronounced fuh-sodd. (That A really doesn’t make the C say “kuh.”)

That clearly makes this word a FAKE, which is one of its only redeeming qualities–it means what it looks like! Smile…

That bring us to the second aspect of the word–its meaning. It is a noun that means “a face of a building or a superficial appearance.”

In that regard, it is as it is pronounced–even though it isn’t pronounced like it is spelled (which is true of many words that came from somewhere else).

So it is easy to learn the meaning of—it has to do with what it sounds like–FACE (albeit, a fake face). But it is not spelled as one would think.

So, don’t put on a facade today! Don’t try to put on a superficial front or fake face. Be yourself!

Strengthlessnesses—Longest Word With One Vowel

Wordy Wednesday!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday! Did you know that strengthlessnesses is the longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel? Neither did I. And I don’t really care for it. I mean, it is cumbersome to say–and that is a whole lot of e’s and s’s to remember to spell the crazy word.

But I love unique and unusual–and strengthlessnesses is definitely both of those! Here are some vitals about this “longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel”:

1. It is a noun–did you know that when a word ends in ness, it is almost always a noun? This helps with standardized testing greatly. Ness words are nearly always nouns, so in a “fill in the blank” type of assignment, if the word in question ends in ness, it has to go in a spot where a noun fits.

Tricky Trick to Help It Stick: We have students learn key words to remember things. For instance, to remember that ness words are nearly always nouns, memorize a key word or two that you know is a noun and that ends in ness.

Other ness nouns: happiness, hopefulness, craziness, gratefulness, joyfulness, smartness

2. It has to do with having strength–we teach our students to think about what you already know–anytime–but especially when approaching a new word. Is there anything about the word strengthlessnesses that you already know?
     a. You know what its base means. You already what strength means!
     b. You know that less means less or not having that quality. (We do a lot of root and affix studies here!)
Because of those two “things you already know,” you can know that strengthlessnesses has something to do with not having strength (i.e. less strength).

Note: You know more than you think you know! Repeat this over and over to yourself: “I know more than I think I know. I know more than I think I know.” Use what you know to learn more!

3. It can be spelled syllable-by-syllable (if you are a biphonic man or biphonic woman!): strength-less-ness-es.

4. You can also make up a trick to remember how to spell it, such as “It contains four e’s and six s’s. Or that it has four syllables–which tells you that it will have at least four vowels in it (or y’s acting like vowels)–because a syllable always contains at least one vowel. A vowel is what makes a syllable!

5. You can learn the variations of this word–because you can remember from your vocabulary studies with Language Lady that suffixes (affixes added to the ends of words) might change the SPELLING of the base word (pity is changed to piti in pitiful) but does not change the MEANING of the base word. Even with three suffixes added (less, ness, and es), the base word of strength still means strength.
             a.  stengthless–adjective meaning without strength (less words are often adjectives!)
             b. strengthlessly–adverb meaning without strength (ly words are often adverbs)
             c. strengthelessness–a noun describing someone or something that is without strength (ness words are often nouns)
            d. strengthlessnesses–a noun that means more than one someone or something that is without strength (es makes the word plural).

So there you have it–the longest word with only one repeating vowel. Did you know that you could learn so much from one word? You know a lot more than you think you know! Smile…


Day 126: Wordy Wednesday—root TEN

I missed Wordy Wednesday, and it’s nearly time for another one! Keeping with our root word theme, today we are going to look at TEN and variations of it.
Definition: STRETCH or THIN
What words do we already know with this root? What can we know about each word—even if we do not know it before?
  1. tension
  2. extend
  3. tendency
  4. tendon
  5. tent
  6. distend
  7. intent
  8. tenable
  9. attention
  10. detention
  11. extent
  12. retention
  13. ostentatious
  14. malcontent
  15. potent

day 120: wordy wednesday—root “spec”

Do you remember how I talked earlier about how we (and our students if we are teachers) know much more than we think we do! There is no place that this is more apparent than vocabulary learning!
Root words, and sometimes even syllables, have meaning. And we often already know meanings of bits and pieces that we can put together to gain more knowledge. (If you know a foreign language, you will have even more success unlocking unknown words or parts of words since much of our language is taken from other languages.)
How can you use this concept to help you or your students? When you come to an unfamiliar word, don’t assume that you do not know it. Look more closely at the word. (And help your kids to do the same—question them all the time: “What do you know about the ‘aqua’ part of aquamarine?” [Or even, “What do you know about the ‘marine’ part?”)
Today’s  root is SPEC, SPIC, or SPIT
It means LOOK or SEE
What do you already know about these “spec,” “spic,” and “spit” words?
  1. Perspective—seeing a point of view
  2. Aspect—one part or one thing you can see
  3. Spectator—one who sees
  4. Spectacle—a sight to see
  5. Suspect—a person you see that might be guilty
  6. Others???
Keep reading. Keep asking yourself what you already know!

day 118: wording Wednesday—root/prefix dict

Many of my full time language arts students (those who come to class each week during the academic year to help us test our complete language arts curriculum) use the root/prefix “dict” each week—as they take “dictation” over the passage of material in our book. They label their papers Dict then the unit we are in and the date. They even call it “dict” time—which is so appropriate since the root “dict” literally means “word”—and they are writing down many words when they take dictation!
We will look at the root/prefix “dict” today!
DICT, DIT, DIC—means to tell, to say, or word
Like we always tell our students—focus on something you already know in order to understand the unknown. In my students’ case, they take “dictation” (writing down words) every week—so they can remember that dict has something to do with words. If you are of my generation, you might remember television programs in which secretaries use a Dictaphone to take dictation from their boss.
Consider what you already know to unlock the unknown! If you have kids, repeat this to them over and over again to help them in their learning and to encourage them about their vast store of knowledge.
Take a look at some words containing dic/dict/dit—and see how they can mean what they do—with to tell, to say, or word :
  1. Dictate—to speak words to someone (for that person to write)
  2. Verdict—a word/determination that was spoken at the end of a trial
  3. Edict—words that are authority or law/rule
  4. Contradict—contra means opposite; dict means word—opposite of the words that someone spoke
  5. Predict—pre means before; dict means word—speak words before they happen
  6. Diction—the pattern of someone’s speech
What other dit/dict/dic words do you know? When you see dic/dit/dict in a word—even if you do not know any other part of the word—use what you do know and the words within the sentence to unlock the meaning.

day 115: wordy wednesday

Now that we know how to spell the word Wednesday, we are going to add a new feature to Language Lady 365. If you desire to increase your vocabulary for professional or personal reasons; are preparing for standardized testing or college; or want to help your kids learn vocabulary better, you won’t want to miss Wordy Wednesdays! (Yesk I know it’s Thursday–I didn’t get this up last night!)
Wordy Wednesday will be a vocabulary-building day each week. Sometimes I will introduce a “word that everybody should know” type of word from test preparation or collections with these types of lists. Other times we will focus on prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Basically, all types of vocabulary learning—your weekly “shot” of wordsmith learning!
At the beginning of the year, I described the importance of roots and affixes in helping our children learn vocabulary: “Discussing words (roots, affixes, etc.) should be a part of our daily discussion with our kids. Even if our kids go to school, we have to look at ourselves as our children’s first teachers. There are so many things that we can teach them casually—homeschoolers or not.”
Not long ago in literature class, our son (Joshua, one of our TFT teachers) asked the students what words they knew that contained the prefix “pro,” meaning “for.” He got the usual answers—pro-life; prolific; pro-football, etc. And then his clever “little brother,” Josiah, said, “’Propane’—means that we are ‘for pain’!” Have fun with vocabulary building—and your kids will not forget it, for sure (nor will you)!
So today, we will start with a common root—a root that can help you unlock the meaning of many other words: gen.
GEN is a root meaning birth, race, or kind.
From this root, we get many common words that most of us are familiar with, including, but not limited to, the following list:
  1. Generous
  2. Generate
  3. Generation
  4. Genealogy
  5. Gender
  6. Genocide
  7. Generic
But roots are not limited to the beginnings of words—they are found buried within longer words as well. Consider the following words with gen somewhere in them. How does the meaning of gen—birth, race, or kind—fit into the meanings of these words:
1.    Agency
2.    Intelligence
3.    Resurgent
4.    Agenda
5.    Allergen
6.    Pathogen
7.    Oxygen
8.    Carcinogen
9.    Divergent
10. Emergency
11. Degenerate
12. Negligence
13. Legends
14. Estrogen
15. Homogenate
16. Ingenuity

day 36: prepositions that are synonyms

We have already learned prepositions that are antonyms (opposite). Now for our last day of preposition work, we will learn prepositions that are synonyms (meaning the same or almost the same).
First a little mnemonic for antonyms and opposites!
Antonyms—Opposite (both begin with vowel sounds—ant—opp)
Synonyms—Same (both begin with S—syn—same)
When you consider that prepositions show position, it makes sense that if you know one preposition that means a certain direction (i.e. over), then other words that mean the same thing may also be prepositions (above, on top of, etc.).
Consider these prepositions that might be considered synonyms—if you know one from each list, you are likely to be able to think of the others:
1. aboard
            a. on
            b. atop
            c. atop of
            d. astride
2. about
    1. amid
    2. amidst
    3. among
    4. amongst
    5. around
    6. by
    7. near
    8. next to
    9. round
  1. above
    1. atop
    2. atop of
    3. on
    4. on top of
    5. over
    6. up
    7. upon
  1. Against
    1. anti
    2. barring
    3. despite
    4. in spite of
    5. opposite of
  2. Ahead
    1. ahead of
    2. before
    3. in front
    4. in front of
  3. Along
    1. about
    2. alongside
    3. alongside of
    4. Along with
    5. Amid
    6. Amidst
    7. Among
    8. Amongst
    9. At
    10. Beside
    11. Besides
    12. Round
    13. Close
    14. Close to
    15. By means of
    16. Near to
    17. Next to
  4. amid/amidst
    1. about
    2. against
    3. among
    4. amongst
    5. around
    6. at
    7. beside
    8. beside of
    9. by
    10. next to
    11. round
    12. through
    13. throughout
  5. anti
    1. across from
    2. against
    3. barring
    4. opposite
    5. opposite of
    6. versus
  6. around
    1. about
    2. amid
    3. amidst
    4. among
    5. amongst
    6. aside
    7. aside of
    8. circa
  7. aside
    1. along
    2. alongside
    3. alongside
    4. aside of
    5. beside
    6. beside of
    7. by
    8. next
    9. next to
    10. close to
    11. near to
  8. astride
    1. a. atop
    2. atop of
    3. on
    4. on top of
    5. over
    6. up
    7. upon
  9. at
    1. beside
    2. beside of
    3.  by
    4. toward
    5. close to
  10. barring
    1. anti
    2. opposite
    3. opposite of
    4. outside
    5. outside of
    6. due to
    7. except for
    8. save
  11. before
    1. ahead
    2. ahead of
    3. in front of
  12. behind
    1. beyond
    2. following
    3. in back
    4. in back of
The purpose behind the “synonym prepositions” is two-fold: (1) help students realize that if a word is a preposition (and they know that one), then more than likely other words that mean the same thing and fit in the same space are probably prepositions as well; (2) to help students think of even more prepositions—that they might not realize they know. Again, if a student learns to recognize prepositions well, he will recognize prepositional phrases well and will be able to isolate them (mentally, at least) in his sentences to achieve correct subject-verb agreement. (Also, it will help in using prepositional phrase openers in sentences  and punctuating them correctly.)

day 17: pop quiz—allude, elude, allusion, illusion

  1. The word was so allusive/elusive; it just wouldn’t come to me.
  2. He made an illusion/allusion/elusion to our previous conversation.
  3. The ride gives you the allusion/illusion that you are on a mountain top.
  4. I excluded the word from the program because its spelling alluded/eluded me.
  5. What did he elude/allude to?
  6. They used Kleenexes to give you the allusion/illusion of fabric.
  7. What he alluded/eluded to was ludicrous!
  8. What was his illusion/allusion to your situation?
  9. Allusion/illusion is related to hallucination.
  10. He made an elusion/allusion to our previous conversation.
Answer Key with hints coming tomorrow! Smile…

day 16: it was just an “illusion” (or was it an “allusion”?)

Adding to the alluded/eluded and allusive/elusive quandary is the illusion/allusion Wacky Word pair! Again, looking at roots and affixes can be a great help.
Let’s start with allusion—since we had alluded yesterday. (Yes, you read that right—the roots are the same!)
1. Allusion (allude)
a.      Related to ludicrous: Hint—“What he alluded to was ludicrous!”
b.     Related to allusion—“He made an allusion to our previous conversation.”
c.      If you remember the allude/ludicrous (What he alluded to was ludicrous!), you will also remember allusion—allusion is something you allude to.
                                                                        i.     Allude is the verb—“What did he allude to?”
                                                                      ii.     Allusion* is the noun—The thing—“What was his allusion to your situation?”
2. Illusion
      a. Related to illustrate—See that root?
              i. Illustration is a picture
             ii. Illusion is an abstract picture
b.     Used to mean a facsimile or something that appears different than it is
i. “The ride gives you the illusion that you are on a mountain.”
ii. “They used Kleenexes to give you the illusion of fabric.”
iii. “Her success is just an illusion.”
c.  Illusion is also related to hallucination—seeing things that are not really there!
*Note: A more advanced vocabulary technique that you will learn this year on LL 365 is “illustrated” in suffixes—tion and sion generally signify a word is a noun.