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Learn English Prefixes, Part 2


In our last article, we learned some basic prefixes (See Learn English Prefixes, Part 1). This article will continue to help you learn English prefixes. Use these prefixes together with the English roots we learned earlier (See How to Learn English Well for a complete list of Teacher Joe's advice for English learners.) so that you can guess word meanings as you read.

9. "dia" means "through" or "across". A "diagonal line" does not go from left to right, or from top to bottom. Instead, a diagonal line goes from one corner to another - for example, from the top right down to the bottom left, or from the bottom right up to the top left. The "diameter" of a circle is a line that goes all the way through the middle of a circle.

10. "e" or "ex" mean "out" or "away from". "Eject" means to be thrown out. "Erupt" is what a volcano does when rocks and hot lava are thrown out and up into the air. To "excel" means to move out away from other, ordinary people. In other words, it means to do very well. The "exhaust" from a car is the carbon dioxide (the pollution!) that is sent out of the car when you are driving.

11. "im" or "in" mean "into". To "immerse" something in water is to put it completely into the water. As a student, you can be completely immersed in English if you go to Canada or England or Australia and hear only English every day. If you want to live in another country forever, you will "immigrate" to that country. To "inhale" is to breathe in new air. Of course, you inhale thousands of times every day!

12. "re", "retro" both mean "back". To "return" means to go back. To "reflect" is to throw back an image, for example your image is "reflected" when you look into a mirror. To look at something, such as last year, in "retrospect" means to look back at the last year - what was the best and worst of the past year for you?

13. "sub" means "under". A "submarine" is a kind of ship that goes underwater. To "submerge" means to push or put something completely under something else so that it is completely surrounded. We could submerge a person under water or submerge our personality inside ourselves because we are very shy. A "subordinate" is someone who works for someone else. In other words, this person works under the other person.

14. "super" means "over". A "supervisor" is the opposite of a subordinate. In other words, a supervisor is the boss! The adjective "superior" describes something that is the best, so it is "over" everything else.

15. "trans" means "move across". "Transportation" is a way of moving across land, or even the sea. To "transfer" something means to send it across space to another place. To "translate" is to "move across" from one language to another language.

16. "col", "com" and "con" all mean "with". To "collaborate" on a project means to work together as a group. To "combine" means to put two or more things together to make one new thing. To "connect" means to attach one thing to another. To "contact" someone or to "make contact" means to communicate with that person.

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