Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Question: What are some frequent prefix “families”?

Answer: Eight Frequently Occurring Prefix Families Based on Baumann et al. (2002).

“Not” family: dis, un, in im, a: disloyalty, dissimilar; unappetizing, unfortunate; inactive, inadvertent; improper; impure; amoral, apathy.

“Number” family: mono, bi, semi: Monorail, monotone; bilingual; biannual; semicircle, semiformal.

“Below” or “part” family: sub, under: subset, submerge; underweight, underdone.

“Again” and “remove” family: re, de: retell, reconsider; redo; decode, deductive.

“Before” and “after” family: pre, post: preshrunk, preview; postgraduate, postwar.

“Against” family: anti, counter: antifreeze, antisocial; counterattack, countermeasures.

“Excess” family: over, super, out: overpopulation, overflow; superhighway, superheated; outrun, outlandish.

“Bad” family: mis, mal: mistrust, mistreatment; malnutrition, maladptive.

Comment: The authors’ message is to call attention to these prefixes when they appear in reading material and discuss their meanings as a way of decoding other unfamiliar words.

I still say the best vocabulary book on the market today and yesterday is Norman Lewis’s Word Power Made Easy, based on the root structure of the English language. Read the reviews on Amazon.com. They are the same glowing reviews that my students gave when I introduced the book to my ninth graders fifty years ago. You, the teacher, will learn so many new words, based on ideas and root structure, that you will not believe it. Buy the book and use it. Your students will thank you as mine continuously thank me. RayS.

Title: “Word Detectives.” A Goodwin, M Lipsky and S Alm. Reading Teacher (April 2012), 461-470.

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