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Review of Elements, Simple Addition, and Compound Words

1. Elements are the smallest parts of written words that add meaning to the words. There are three kinds of elements: prefixes, bases, and suffixes.

Prefixes are elements that go at the front of words and cannot stand free as words. Un- and re- are prefixes in the words unpainted and remixing.

Bases are elements that can have prefixes and suffixes added at the front and back.

Free bases are bases that can stand free as words, like the bases paint and mix in the words unpainted and remixing.

Suffixes are elements that go at the end of words and cannot stand free as words. In the words unpainted and remixing, -ed and -ing are suffixes.

2. The Rule of Simple Addition. Unless you know some reason to make a change, when you add elements together to spell a word, do not make any changes at all. Simply add the elements together.

Add the following prefixes and suffixes to the free bases to spell words. All of the elements combine according to the Rule of Simple Addition:

Prefix + Free Base + Suffix = Word
un + friend + ly = unfriendly
un + fail + ing =
re + move + s =
re + search + er =
un + arm + ed =
re + arm + ing =
un + finish + ed =
re + finish + ed =
un + trust + ing =
re + act + ing =

3. Now try some the other way around. Analyze each of the following words into its elements. Most contain a prefix. All contain a free base and a suffix:

Word = Analysis
unmixed = un + mix + ed
remixing =
searches =
losses =
redrawing =
undoctored =
genies =

4. Compound Words. Words like somebody that are made up of two or more shorter words are called compound words, or just compounds.

Divide each of the following words into two parts. In some words Part 1 is a prefix and Part 2 is a free base. In some words Part 1 is a free base and Part 2 is a suffix. Some of the words are compounds in which both Part 1 and Part 2 are free bases.

Word Part 1 Part 2

Write the five compound words from the table above into these boxes: . . .

In each of the five compounds did the shorter words combine through simple addition?


Nearly all compound words combine by simple addition

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