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

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 122: Wordy Wednesday—SUPER!

More root word learning for this week’s Wordy Wednesday. But before that, I have to ask if you are using what you already know? Are you examining unknown words and asking yourself  if there is anything about that word that you already know—a root, prefix, or suffix?
Today’s root: SUPER, SUR, SUM   
Meaning: ABOVE
What do you already know about this ABOVE root:
  1. surpass—to go above and beyond
  2. summit—above; the high mountain or peak
  3. supersede—to be above in authority,  etc.
  4. superstition—a  belief that is ABOVE the normal
  5. super star—a star above others



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

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