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8.12: Sometimes the Two Prefixes ln- Assimilate

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Sometimes the Two Prefixes ln- Assimilate

1. When either of the two prefixes in- is added to certain stems, the <n> will assimilate and become the same as the first letter of the stem. In all of the following words, the first two letters are some form of one of the in- prefixes. Sometimes the <n> remains <n>, and sometimes it assimilates. Analyze each word into its prefix and stem, showing any changes due to assimilation:

Word = Prefix + Stem
immediate = +
individual = +
inform = +
irregular = +
illustrate = +
invested = +
illusion = +
immense = +

2. Sort the words into these groups:

3. So far the prefixes in- behave like the prefixes ad- and sub-: Sometimes they are simply added to the stem with no changes in spelling, and sometimes they assimilate so that the last letter of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the stem.

But in some words the <n> in in- changes to an <m> even though the first letter of the stem is not an <m>! For instance: i\cancel{n}+ m + press = impress This change from <n> to <m> — and from [n] to [m] — still makes the word easier to say. It is called partial assimilation.

4. All of the following words contain one of the prefixes in-. In some words the <n> has assimilated partially by changing to an <m> in front of stems that don’t start with [m] or <m>. In some words the <n> has not assimilated at all. Analyze each word to show what happened when in- was added to the stem in that word:

Word = Prefix + Stem
impress = +
inquire = +
improve = +
insufficient = +
important = +
indicted = +
imbalance = +
impossible = +


6. Sometimes the <n> in the prefixes in- assimilates partially to _____ before stems that start with the letters _____ and _____.

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Jan 16, 2015
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