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9.1: Review of Elements and Simple Addition

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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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 unfriendly and respected.

Bases are elements that carry the core of the word’s meaning and can have prefixes and suffixes added at the front and back.

Free bases are bases that can stand free as words, like the bases friend and doubt in the words unfriendly and undoubted.

Bound bases are bases that cannot stand free as words, like the bases sist and rupt in the words resisted and disrupted.

Suffixes are elements that go at the end of words and cannot stand free as words. In the words unfriendly and respected, -ly and -ed 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.

3. Add the following prefixes and suffixes to the free bases. All of the elements combine by simple addition:

Prefix + Free Base + Suffix = Word
un + suit + ed = unsuited
ad + dict + ion =
dis + turb + ing =
in + clude + s =
dis + arm + ed =
mis + judge + ment =
com + fort + able =
in + vest + ment =
ex + ceed + s =
com + mon + ly =

4. Stems. When we take prefixes or suffixes away from a word, the part that is left over is called the stem. So if we took the re- away from the word repaying, we would have the word paying left over — and that leftover part is called the stem. If we took the suffix -ing away from repaying, the stem would be repay. If we took the prefix re- away from repay, the stem would be pay, which is also a free base.

We also use the word stem to refer to the element or string of elements to which we are going to add prefixes or suffixes. If we added the suffix -ing to the word repay, we would say that repay was the stem of the new word, repaying.

So the word stem can be used to refer to the element or string of elements that is left over after prefixes and suffixes are taken away, and it can be used to refer to an element or string of elements to which we are going to add prefixes or suffixes. Some stems are free, and some stems are bound. For instance, if we take away the suffix from the word resisting, we get the free stem resist. But if we take away the prefix from resisting, we get the bound stem sisting, for we do not have a word in English spelled <sisting>.

Some stems do not contain prefixes or suffixes, but every stem must contain at least one base. And some stems contain only a base.

5. Analyze these words into the elements and stems described for each:

Word = Analysis
uncomfortable = Prefix + prefix + free base + suffix ______
include = Prefix + bound base ______
exceeding = Prefix + bound base + suffix ______
addicts = Prefix + bound base + suffix ______
uncommon = Prefix + prefix + bound base ______
unsuitable = Prefix + free base + suffix ______
jewelers = Free base + suffix + suffix ______
dewy = Free base + suffix ______
misjudges = Prefix + free stem ______
regrouping = Prefix + free base + suffix ______
compels = Prefix + bound base + suffix ______
rearming = Prefix + free base + suffix ______
reinvested = Prefix + prefix + free base + suffix ______
refreshments = Prefix + bound stem ______
undisturbed = Prefix + prefix + bound stem ______

Word History. The vest that refers to a sleeveless shirt-like garment is the same free base that is in investment. It comes from a Latin word that meant “garment, clothing.” The connection appears to be that when you invest money, you put it a new form, as if you were clothing it in a new cover. Notice that we still speak of “covering” someone's bet, which is itself a kind of investment.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jan 16, 2015
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