Word Study Introduction


In English, words are often made from other words. There are many ways to do this. A compound word occurs when two or more words combine to form a new word with a new meaning. Examples of compound words are tiger lily, housecoat, jack-in-the-box. New words can also be made by adding an affix, a letter or letters attached to a word or part of a word to alter its meaning to part of speech. The main part of the word, is called a root. Example: develop (the root of development).

Affixes are added to roots to form other words. Two main types of affixes in English are prefixes, which come before a word, and suffixes, which come after a word. Examples of prefixes are: re (remake, redo), anti (anti-inflammatory, antithesis),un (unclear, unsupported). Examples of suffixes are: meant (judgement, establishment), ing (visiting, highlighting), ish (noon-ish, blue-ish). Words can have many prefixes and suffixes, even at the same time! Example: antidisestablishmentarianism.

Teachers can help their students expand their vocabulary and understand the relationship between words be presenting words in various categories.

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