Tag Archives: Wordy Wednesday


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–Prefixes Having to Do With Heat

    We are having a heat wave here in Indiana. We have had temperatures above ninety degrees this week. Today it was 92 degrees–a perfect day to go swimming and a perfect day to get a sunburn!

    For today’s WORDY WEDNESDAY, I thought we would look at two prefixes that have to do with July in Indiana–SOL and THERM.

    If you have been reading Language Lady very long, you know my two rules of thumb for learning:

    1. You know more than you think you know.

    2. Use what you already know to learn even more!

    Those two rules of thumb definitely apply to today’s prefixes.+

    We encourage our students to take a key word–any word that you already know–that has to do what you are trying to learn.

    In the case of sol and therm, you can take two words you already know as your “key words” to help you remember these two prefixes:

    SOL–solar….you know that solar means sun if you have ever talked about a solar blanket for your pool, solar power (generating power through the sun), or solar eclipse

    THERM–thermos or thermal…you know that THERM means heat if you have ever carried your soup or coffee in a thermos or had “thermal underwear” on in the winter to keep you warm.

    So…take your two KEY WORDS and use them any time you see the prefixes SOL and THERM:

    1. Sol
    a. solar
    b. solarium–part of a room that is exposed to the sun
    c. solstice–the pointer in which the sun stands sill

    2. Therm
    a. thermoplastic
    b. thermos
    c. thermodynamics
    d. thermoelectric

    The “solar heat” is high right now in Indiana, and the thermometer shows it at in the low nineties!

    +Remember: A prefix is an affix. An affix is a letter or letters attached to a word that give more meaning to the word. The affix itself actually has meaning. A prefix is an affix that is added to the beginning of a word–thus, the prefix to the word prefix PRE (meaning before)!

    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: Write, Right, Rite, and Wright

    In my complete language arts books, I have a weekly lesson called “Wacky Words.” When I began writing language arts books for a different publisher fourteen years ago, I did not have this section in my books. 

    Then I began testing…and testing…and testing…my materials. As I tested them, I discovered that even mature writers have difficulties with homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings). Then along came message boards, email groups, and FaceBook, and I discovered EVERYBODY has trouble with homophones. From these experiences, the Wacky Word lessons were born.

    This week I was thinking of the plays that our daughter is directing for a community youth program called The Young Playwrights. I have seen the word playwrights before, but this week, it struck me that we do not have that word in our Wacky Word lessons with write, right, and rite.

    Then, of course, I thought more (thinking is what I do!) and wondered why, if the children are writing plays, the term is not playwrite. So…that takes us to this Wordy Wednesday/Wacky Word post!

    The picture above gives us some idea of why the word is playwright and not playwrite. The picture is of a wheelwright shop–that is, a shop in which one crafts wheels.

    Though the word “wright” is most commonly associated with crafting with wood (wheelwright), the word “wright” is used in other contexts to indicate crafting or creating as well:


    In that way, a playwright is not simply “writing” a play, but he or she is “crafting” something–perhaps he or she is even meticulously creating the script, like a wheelwright meticulously creates wheels.

    So our four “Wacky Words” for “Wordy Wednesday” can be remembered with the following tips:

    1. Write–to pen or scribe the written word

    2. Right–correct; opposite of wrong; from the fight, might, light family, phonetically speaking

    3. Rite–a ritual or ceremony; a rite of passage (This makes the Rite-Aid stores all spelled wrong–unless they mean “aid” for a ceremony or passage, which I don’t think they mean. I think they want to say that their stores give the “right” kind of aid/assistance.)

    4. Wright–a crafter, especially of wooden creations    


    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: Capitol vs. Capital

    The Only use for the word capitOl with an O is when referring to the capitOl building/buildings!        

    Yep, you read that caption correctly! Contrary to what many people believe, capitOl does not refer to the head city, a good idea, or money invested. CapitOl Only refers to the capitOl building.

    Here is the rundown:

    1. Capitol
        a. Only has one use that we widely implement.
        b. Means the building or group of buildings in which the functions of government are carried out.
        c. Think. CapitOl Only means Office buildings for gOvernment–that is the Only meaning.

    2. Capital
            a. All other uses of capital are the a one—capital is for all other uses

            b. ALL other uses of capitol/capital are the word capitAL.
            c. Adjectives
                1) Upper case letter: capital letter   
                2) Chief or primary: capital idea or the capital (most important) thing for us                             to     remember
                3) Die by the court: capital punishment
                4) Primary city: the capital city
            d. Nouns
                1) Stock of goods or income: to have capital in the bank
                2) Capital used by itself for the city: go to the capital of the state (i.e. the city that                 is the capital–not the building–the capitol building).

    Watch the blog and Facebook page tomorrow for a quiz over this Wacky Word pair–and over last week‘s vane, vein, and vain! Better start studying!


    WORDY WEDNESDAY: acceleration vs deceleration

    The other day I looked down on my steering wheel to find these two abbreviations: accel and decel. I am sure that these are the formal abbreviations, and I also assume that the two are abbreviations for acceleration and deceleration.

    The two words are perfect words for working on two of my favorite “wordy” sub-lessons: spelling and prefix/root studies.

    As a self-declared bi-phonic woman, I love to point out spelling rules any time there is the slightest bit of phonetic consistency to them. And, it just so happens, that acceleration and deceleration have a little bit of consistency to their spellings:

    1. Hard and soft c
         a. ac/cel/er/a/tion
            i. The first c says kuh because it is followed by a c. (When a c or g is followed by a, o, u, or most consonants, it says its hard sound—kuh or guh.)
            ii. The second c says suh because it is followed by an e. (When a c or g is followed by e, i, or y, it says its soft sound–suh or juh.)
         b. de/cel/er/a/tion–This word only contains one c, and that c makes its soft sound (suh) because it is followed by an e.

    2. Both spelled the same from then on–syllable by syllable
        a. After our cel phonemes, the remainder of each word is spelled the same.
        b. Both can be spelled syllable by syllable at that point
           i. er
           ii. a
           iii. tion

    3. Thus, you can easily remember how to spell both words.
        a. ac/cel and d/cel
        b. er/a/tion (for both)

    +Note: If acceleration only had one c, the first two syllables would look (“sound”) like this: a/sell (ay/sell).
    +Note: If deceleration had two c’s, the first two syllables would look (“sound”) like this: dek/sell.

    If you are not a lover of phonics or you learned to read and spell through sight words and memorization, you might be bored by now, so I will give you something you can take with you from this “wordy” lesson–deciphering meaning from roots and affixes (prefixes and suffixes).

    First of all, remember this: You know more than you think you know!

    Applying that to our two words: What do you already know about their meanings:

    1. They have something to do with movement (on the steering wheel of a car; you hear them association with physics, etc.).

    2. De is a prefix you are familiar with–it usually means the opposite.
       a. de-frost–unfrost
       b. de-value–not to value
    3. tion–Tion (and sion words) words are usually nouns
       a. nation
       b. hypertension
       c. limitation

    If you already knew those things (and now you do!), take what you already know and add it to what else you might learn about these two words:

    1. ac–Prefix meaning toward

    2. In physics, these two words have much more technical meanings that we do not need to concern ourselves with for this lesson. (A part of learning is knowing what you do not need to know!)

    3. In medical terms, these two words have to do with getting hurt via a collision (still retaining the general meaning of movement).

    4. The suffix cel can have something to do with movement or an action
       a. cancel
       b. excel

    Okay, you have all of the information to unlock the definitions (and the spellings, thank-you very much!) of these two words.


    A. They have something to do with movement (cel)
    B. They are nouns (tion)
    C. One means forward (ac–toward)
    D. The other means backwards or not or undo (de).
    E. Acceleration means to move forward.
    F. Deceleration means to move backwards (de) or not to move.

    Wasn’t that fun? 🙂

    *For complete steps on “dissecting” words, see the posts about Character Ink’s teaching methods we call Definition Dissection. Here is a list of prefixes to get you started: http://languagelady365.blogspot.com/2011/01/days-13-14-roots-and-affixes-list.html

    WORDY WEDNESDAY–Lonnnnnggg Homophone Quiz!

    . Fill in each blank provided with the correct Wacky Word—their, there, they’re, wander,             
                   wonder, scent, sent, farther, further, bear, or bare.

        1.  ________________ meeting us for lunch.
        2. We are going to ________________ the nursing home to sing.
        3.  ________________ rarely on time.
        4.  ________________ lake is just ahead.
        5. When we get  ________________, we will eat.
        6. We do not know what ________________ going to sing.
        7. Ray and Donna parked ________________ car in the parking garage.
        8. We should be ________________ after lunch.
        9. Maelynn thinks she left her keys ________________.
      10. ________________ going to drop off the food at noon.
                    11. I ________________ what time it is.
                    12. Please don’t ________________ around the woods too far.
                    13. We could ________________ all day without a map.
                    14. Jonathan ________________ what time it is.
                    15. I ________________ if the Reishes are coming.
                    16. Donna ________________ the card in the mail.
                    17. Jonathan ________________ Maelynn flowers for Valentine’s Day.
                    18. The dogs picked up the ________________ of the drugs.
                    19. Did she get the email I ________________ her?
                    20. The  ________________ of the candle filled the room.
                    21. After church, he explained that concept ________________ .
                    22. The  ________________ we go, the more lost we are!
                    23. We can discuss the matter  ________________ when everyone gets here.
                    24. I believe the store is  ________________ down the street.
                    25. That restaurant is  ________________ than this one.
                    26. I hope we don’t see a  ________________ while walking the trails.
                    27. She gave her sister a stuffed  ________________ for Christmas.
                    28. You should put sunscreen on your  ________________ skin.
                     29. The   ________________ slept in the warm sun after his hibernation.
                     30. My  ________________ feet are dirty from walking in the strawberry patch.

    Answer Key:

        1.  They’re  meeting us for lunch.
        2. We are going to wander to the nursing home to sing.
        3.  They’re  rarely on time.
        4.  Their  lake is just ahead.
        5. When we get  there , we will eat.
        6. We do not know what  they’re  going to sing.
        7. Ray and Donna parked  their  car in the parking garage.
        8. We should be there after lunch.
        9. Maelynn thinks she left her keys there .
                      10. They’re going to drop off the food at noon.
                      11. I wonder what time it is.
                      12. Please don’t wander around the woods too far.
                      13. We could wander all day without a map.
                      14. Jonathan wonder what time it is.
                      15. I wonder if the Reishes are coming.
                      16. Donna sent the card in the mail.
                      17. Jonathan sent Maelynn flowers for Valentine’s Day.
                      18. The dogs picked up the scent of the drugs.
                      19. Did she get the email I sent her?
                      20. The  scent of the candle filled the room.
                      21. After church, he explained that concept further .
                      22. The  farther we go, the more lost we are!
                      23. We can discuss the matter  further when everyone gets here.
                      24. I believe the store is  farther down the street.
                      25. That restaurant is  farther than this one.
                      26. I hope we don’t see a  bear while walking the trails.
                      27. She gave her sister a stuffed  bear for Christmas.
                      28. You should put sunscreen on your  bare skin.
                      29. The  bear slept in the warm sun after his hibernation.
                      30. My  bare feet are dirty from walking in the strawberry patch.

    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!

    Wordy Wednesday–Wacky Words!

     In my language arts series for grades two through twelve, I have a weekly lesson called “Wacky Words.” (Yeah, I’m all about alliteration. Um, Language Lady??!!) Anyway, the title fits a little better than calling them homophone lessons because not all confusing word are true homophones. Some are just, well, confusing–and wacky!

    Here are some tricks and tips I have used recently in a  Wacky Word lesson. Maybe some of these will help you remember which word is which (not witch!).  Smile…

      1. Hear—There is an ear in hear.
      2. Here—There is not an ear in here.
      3. There—It is here and there. There is a here in there!
      4. Their—The word heir, which can mean ownership, is in the    word their, and their is a pronoun that shows ownership!
      5. See—Do you see two eyes in the word see ?
      6. Boar–Boar has an a and is an animal.
      7. ThenThen has an e and means next. According to one of my students (Isaac!), then means when.
      8. IsleIsle is like the word island.
      9. ChordChord has an h like chorus (both musical).
    10. ComplimentCompliment has an i–I like compliments.
    11. SensorSensor relates to the senses.
    12. Herd—Herd of deer—almost the same letters in a different order!
    13. Heard—Heard has the word ear in it
    14. Through—It is rough when you go through hard times
    15. Threw— He threw a new screw.
    16. Pair—Love is in the air for this loving pair.
    17. Pare—After he caught it, he was gong to pare the hare.
    18. Pear—A pear half looks like an ear—and has the word ear in it.
    19. Desert—has one s and you only want to be stuck in the desert one time!
    20. Dessert—has two s’—and you want two desserts!
    21. Main—The main (for first) murderer was Cain—both spelled ain.
    22. Mane—The lion has a mane and is not tame!
    23. Its—pronoun that shows ownership—never use an apostrophe to show ownership to a pronoun; that makes a contraction.
    24. It’s—always say the two words uncontracted—if you say it is when you see this word, you will never use it’s for possession—the dog lost it’s (it is!?) collar—WRONG.
    25. Sense— He was tense, so he lost his sense.
    26. Cents—There are one hundred cents in a dollar and one hundred years in a century.
    27. Since— Since the prince was tense he began to wince.
    28. Presence— Can you think of a trick?
    29. Present—have you ever heard the saying that “the present is a true present”?