Hello Peppy Club! Hello all of my TOEFL students, all of my advanced students and all of my business students! I hope that you’re having a good year so far in 2011. From what I hear from my students in the northern hemisphere, things are getting warmer and from my students in the southern hemisphere, things are cold one day and hot the next. Yes, weather can be so unpredictable and so can the TOEFL.
Now English vocabulary can be really unpredictable, especially when we are talking about prefixes and suffixes. Just when we think we know what the word is going to be in English, we end up finding out that we used the wrong prefix. Sometimes English uses the exact prefix from Latin and sometimes it doesn’t. You can relate this false-friend trap to other false friends I have mentioned in previous videos like Peppy Lesson 9.So today we are going to go over the many prefixes used in English which is a definite plus to help you improve your writing and speaking on the TOEFL or IELTS. So lets go!
In my experience preparing people for the TOEFL, some students may feel insecure about the big test day as they might be under-pepared. In a few cases, even being over-prepared might not necessarily be a good thing.Being unprepared means that perhaps you have “too many things on your plate”. You’ve got a job and work from 9 to 5. Your cell phone is turned on 24/7 as sometimes you need to be “on-call” for your line of work. On top of that maybe you are “juggling” your job with family life and you have children to take care of.
So from the table below we can see a long list of prefixes that are commonly used in English. So far I have used a few such as: insecure,underpepared, overprepared and unprepared.
insecure: ‘in’= not secure or sure of oneself
underprepared: ‘under’ = below, not enough, inadequately prepared
overprepared: ‘over’ = above, too much, too prepared
|com-, con-||with||companion, contact|
|de-||off, away from||devalue|
|ex-||out of, former||extract, ex-president|
|extra-||beyond, more than||extracurricular|
|il-, im-, in-, ir-||not, without||illegal, immoral, inconsiderate, irresponsible|
|pre-, pro-||before, forward||precede, project|
During my online lessons and from my many years teaching at ‘on-ground’ schools, I have noticed that many students and native speakers are in doubt about the correct prefix to use. Here are some rules:
Prefixes: in-, il-, ir-, im-
All of these prefixes mean “not” or “the opposite of” and my students are always “scratching their heads” about which prefix to use. Native speakers just use them “on-the-fly” without ever thinking about the spelling rules or the word origins.
The spelling of this prefix often changes to match the first letter of the base word. This sometimes results in a double letter. So, if we want to say the opposite of legal we say “illegal” instead of “inlegal” (which would be awkward to get your tongue around!). The pattern is like this:
*Use il-before words starting with l. So not legible = illegible.
*Use ir-before words starting with r. So not relevant = irrelevant
*Use im-before words starting with m, but also in front of words starting with p.
So: not mature = immature not perfect = imperfect or impolite
That’s a common ‘no-no’ right there. Students will often say unpolite instead of impolite.
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