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4.16: The Prefix Re-

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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The Prefix Re-

1. An element is a part of a written word that adds meaning to the word.

A base is an element that carries the basic meaning of the word and can have other elements added to it.

A suffix is an element that goes after the base and cannot stand free by itself as a word.

Here is a new term: A prefix is an element that cannot stand free as a word and goes at the front of words.

2. Analyze each word into its prefix and free base:

Word = Prefix + Free Base
rebuild = re + build
reheat = re + heat
rewrite = re + write
replay = re + play
redo = re + do
relive = re + live

3. Think about what the word rebuild means. Then think about what the free base build means. Which of these meanings does the prefix re- add to the word rebuild? “Not,” “Again,” “More than one,” or “Yesterday”? “Again”

4. Be ready to talk about these questions:

A. How did you figure out what the prefix was?

B. How did you figure out what the prefix meant?

5. Not all words that start out with the letters <re> contain the prefix re-. Four of the following words do — and four do not:


Write down the four words that contain the prefix re-:


Write down the four words that do not contain the prefix re-:


7. Be ready to talk about this question: How did you figure out which four words contained the prefix re-?

Watch the Middles!

re light
re light
re light
relight relight
re write
re write
re write
rewrite rewrite
re lit
re lit
re lit
relit relit
re written
re written
re written
rewritten rewritten

Teaching Notes. Re- is one of our most common, productive, and easily recognized prefixes.

Item 4A. What we are hoping for here is that the students will have looked for the longest common string of letters at the beginning of the words—namely the <re>. They might also mention that they recognized the six different free bases and that when they subtracted the bases, all that was left was the common <re>. (Of course, the title of the lesson is also a pretty good clue!)

Item 4B. Here we hope the students will have recognized that all of the six words had a sense of “again” while the six free bases did not. So the “again” had to come with the prefix re-.

Item 6. Here we hope the students will have tried to analyze the words into a prefix plus a recognizable free base or word or that they will have looked for the sense of “again” in the original words. If their analysis didn’t work or there wasn’t the sense of “again,” theinitial <re> is not the prefix re-.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
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