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9.4: The Prefix Com-

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

1. Many words contain some form of the prefix com-. The <m> in com- often assimilates when it is added to certain stems.

The first three letters in each of the following words are some form of the prefix com-. Sometimes the <m> has assimilated and sometimes it has not. Analyze each word into its prefix plus stem and show any assimilation that has taken place.

Word = Prefix + Stem
correspond = com + r + respond
combine = com + bine
companion = com + panion
collapse = com + l + lapse
connect = com + n + nect
committee =com + mittee
correct =com + r + rect
commercial =com + mercial
collect = com + i + lect
college = com + l + lege
community = com + munity
company = com + pany

2. Sort the words into these two groups:

Words in which the <m> in com-...
assimilated: did not assimilate:
correspond correct combine commercial
collapse collect companion community
connect college committee company

3. Now sort the six words in which the <m> did not assimilate into these two groups:

Words in which there is...
<mm> no<mm>
committee combine
commercial companion
community company

4. And now sort the six words in which the m assimilated into these three groups:

Words in which the ‘m’ changed to...
<n> <l> <r>
connect collapse correspond
collect correct

Teaching Notes.

Items 1-3. In combine, companion, and company the prefix and stem combine by simple addition, with no assimilation. This is due to the fact that the stems of these three words begin with [p] or [b], two sounds that are already very similar to the [m] at the end of com-. The sounds [p], [b], and [m] are all called bilabials because they are all pronounced at the two lips. You can feel your lips come together as you pronounce each sound. Assimilation usually occurs to ease pronunciation by bringing two sounds closer together in terms of the place in the mouth where they are pronounced, their point of articulation. In words like combine, companion, and company the points of articulation are already the same so there is no pressure to assimilate.

CrossWords. This crossword contains twelve words that contain some form of the prefix com-.



3. COMMITTEE—Working group

4. COLLECT—Gather

7. CONNECT—Link together

8. COMMUNITY—Neighborhood

9. COLLAPSE—Cave in


1. CORRESPOND—Agree with

3. COLLEGE—School after high school

4. COMBINE—Mix together

5. COMMERCIAL—TV advertisement

6. CORRECT—Not wrong

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