Tag Archives: vocabulary

WORDY WEDNESDAY–Prefix ir

The prefix ir is an interesting prefix for a number of reasons:

1. It means not. There are many prefixes that can mean not, such as de, a, un, non; however, ir also means not, which is interesting to me because I don’t think it sounds like it should mean not! To me, it sounds like it should mean again or repeating or something besides not!

2. It only comes before base words that begin with R. In other words, you do not put ir in front of most any word to mean not, like you often do with un or non. 

3. This isn’t really interesting–but I like to say it whenever I teach about prefixes. A prefix is a letter or group of letters that you “affix” (which is why it and suffixes are called affixes) to the beginning of a word. It is important to remember that a prefix does not change the spelling of the base word. That is especially crucial in spelling ir words because the ir precedes an R already–and you must keep the base word’s spelling, so when you add this prefix to a word, you will ALWAYS have two R’s in a row: irregular, irresponsible, etc.

4. It is most often put before a word that is should never come before: regardless. We hear people constantly say irregardless, which is, of course, an oxymoronic word because less means without (or not) and ir means not. I guess that makes it sort of like using a double negative! You do not put ir before regardless because regardless already means without regard. With ir in front of it, you are saying not without regard, I guess…. Anyway, irregardless is not a word. So don’t use it. Okay? 🙂

Note: It is correct, however, to use irrespective, which is a substitute (some of the time) for when you are tempted to say irregardless.

However, there are many base words that begin with R that can have ir put before them to mean NOT or the opposite of what the base word means before ir is added to it.

Here is a list to get you started. Notice how if you take the ir off, you have a positive base word (or one that means yes–yes regular, yes responsible, yes revocable, etc.) However, with the ir, the word means notnot regular, not responsible, not revocable, etc.

Remember: You know more than you think you know!

And remember: Use what you already know to learn even more!

  • irregular
  •  irresponsible
  • irrevocable
  • irrefutable
  • irradiate
  • irreconcilable
  • irredeemable
  • irreducible
  • irrefutable
  • irregularity
  • irrelevant
  • irreverence
  • irreligious
  • irreparable
  • irreplaceable
  • irreversible
  • irresolute
  • irretrievable
  • irresistible
  • Irrelevant
  • WORDY WEDNESDAY: peak, peek, pique

    Picture by Lisa Rivera

    Oh my word! My tips and tricks for peek, peak, and pique aren’t nearly as cute and memorable as the ones Lisa Rivera has created in the picture above! In our curriculum materials, and on the web, I don’t have access to that kind of graphic representation of words. I might have to look into that in the future!

    In the meantime, her picture says a thousand words–okay, well really just three:

    1. Peek
        a. Verb meaning a secretive look–And then I am going to peek into the package.
        b. Noun meaning a small glance–She took a peek into the package.
        c. Thus, the two EYES in the middle of the word peek in the graphic. (We do have that in our books, but we just tell it not show it–showing it is so much better!)

    2. Peak
       a. Verb meaning to reach the highest point—They said that the dancer was going to peak at just the right time.
       b. Noun meaning the highest point—They reached the mountain’s peak.
       c. Adjective meaning highest point—They were at their peak performance.
       d. Love the graphic with the A being a high, mountainous point. 

    3. Pique’
       a. Verb meaning to arouse curiosity–They really tried to pique’ our attention with those pictures.
       b. Noun meaning resentment–He slammed the door in a fit of pique’. (Use it interchangeably with “quick anger.”
       c. Noun or adjective meaning nubby fabric–He wore his pique’ bright yellow polo shirt.
       d. The verb is the most common meaning; and thus, we see the cat at the bottom of the q in the picture because “curiosity killed the cat.” CLEVER!

    If you don’t have that great picture above, here are ways to remember these three:

    1. Peek–has two e’s, and we have two eyes and peek with our eyes
    2. Peak—not two e’s OR They have a lEAK in the pEAK of their roof.
    3. Pique’–Ends with que—question begins with que

    Happy Wordy Wednesday! If you like our blog, share it with others! Put the FB link on your timeline, so others can learn with Language Lady each week! Smile…

    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 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 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 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 88: rise, lie, sit overview

    Moving on from National Poetry Month–though if someone would like to send poetry, I will still publish it until the end of April.

    With Easter so close, I thought we would look at a tricky Wacky Word pair–rise and raise (followed by sit and set and lie and lay since you really should learn them together, if possible).

    First, an overview:

    Rise and sit have I’s–and lie does too.
    “Coz these are things that I, all by myself, can do.
    Raise, set, and lay are words that you choose
    When each one has an object after it to use.

    What does that mean? It means that I and rIse, I can sIt, and I can lIe without any object.

    But I raise something; I set something; and I lay something….

    More tomorrow…then one at a time. These are confusing ones, but with LL’s tips and tricks, you will be raising your head high, sitting with grammarians with confidence, laying your dictionary aside, rising up to the occasion, setting the stage for future success, and lying down at night, knowing that you understand lie, rise, and sit! 🙂

    day 73: send in the cavalry or calvary?

    Another confusing word pair–cavalry and calvary. And yes, we will see them written incorrectly over the next few weeks as Easter approaches! How can you differentiate between the two in this Wacky Word pair?

    As a Christian, I have a unique way of remembering calvary and cavalry–see it helps you!

    1. Cavalry–

    a. A group of miliary people
    b. We often say, “Send in the cavalry” to indicate help is needed
    c. I remember this by remembering that the V comes before the L—Victory comes first if the cavalry comes caValry.

    2. Calvary–

    a. The hill on which Jesus was crucified
    b. I remember this by remembering that the L comes before the V–Calvary denotes Love–CaLvary

    day 72: does winnie the pooh like to wander or wonder?

    Another quick tip for you!
    1. Wonder is spelled like ponder—and they both mean to think
    2. Wander is spelled like land—and you wANDer all over the lAND (or wAnder has an A in it and Area has an A in it—and you wAnder in an Area)
    So…does Winnie the Pooh like to wander or wonder?
    1. Pooh: “I’d rather be wondering.” OR
    2. Pooh: “I’d rather be wandering.”
    Well, I’ll give you a little hint. My daughter was a thinker—always thinking and/or reading—as a child (and still is!). When she had to do something she didn’t want to do—or her thoughts were interrupted by something, she would say, “I’m just like Winnie the Pooh. I’d rather be wondering!” In other words, she, just like Pooh Bear, would rather be pondering/thinking! J