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!

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