Root Words and Affixes

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(Prefixes and Suffixes)
 The main part of a word hidden inside the longer word
 The root is the biggest clue to a word’s meaning.
 Often, you can figure out a difficult word by finding its
root.
EXAMPLE:
Read the following word:
misunderstand
Within this word, you can find the word “understand.”
You know that understand means to comprehend.
You just made it easier to figure out the meaning of the
longer word above.
Answer the following question.
Identify the meaning of the root word
underlined within the following word:
description
A.
B.
C.
D.
mix
move
write
close
The root word SCRIPT means a
system of writing (noun) or to
write (verb).
Prefix: A group of letters that comes before a root word
Look at the chart of examples below.
Prefix
Meaning
Examples
Dis-
not
dislike
Fore-
before
foresee, foreshadow
In-
not
insecure, incomplete
Mis-
wrong, badly
mislead, misinform
Multi-
more than one
multi-task
Non-
not
nonsense, nonfiction
Post-
after
posttest, postgame
Semi-
partly, half
semicircle, semisweet
Un-
not
unimportant, undone
Uni-
single, one
unicycle
Suffix: A group of letters that comes after a root word
Look at the chart of examples below.
Suffix
Meaning
Examples
-able
worthy or capable of
desirable, fixable
-an
person
musician, mathematician
-dom
place, state of being
wisdom, kingdom
-less
lacking
careless, meaningless
-ly
attributes a quality
happily, excitedly
-ness
state, condition
happiness, hardness
-ous
full of
marvelous, humorous
Using your knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, and root words,
answer the question.
We sat in a semicircle and watched the instructor at the
front of the room.
What does the word semicircle mean in the sentence above?
A. full circle
B. two circles
C. small circle
D. half circle
Semi- is a Latin prefix meaning
"half."
A semicircle is half of a circle.
Civilizations of people lived before
historical records were written down.
What word describes this time period?
A. prehistoric
B. posthistoric
C. unhistoric
D. antihistoric
The prefix pre- means before.
In this case, prehistoric means the
time period before historical records
were taken.
Using your knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, and word roots,
answer the question.
Cara could easily recognize her grandfather in the old
family portrait by the famous Dutch painter. She said it was
a good likeness of him.
What does the word likeness mean in the sentence above?
A. sanctuary
B. similarity
C. skill
D. guard
The Anglo-Saxon root word "lik-"
means "similar."
The Anglo-Saxon suffix "-ness" means
"state of."
Therefore, likeness is the state of
being similar.
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