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More Words With Com-

1. Here are twelve more words, all starting with some form of the prefix com-. Analyze each word into prefix plus stem and show – any assimilations that take place:

Word = Prefix + Stem
contents = co\cancel{m} + n + tents
completely = com + pletely
confident = co\cancel{m} + n + fident
compel = com + pel
contain = co\cancel{m} + n + tain
compare = com + pare
correspond = co\cancel{m} + r + respond
construct = co\cancel{m} + n + struct
communities = com + munities
contract = co\cancel{m} + n + tract
continent = co\cancel{m} + n + tinent
collapsed = co\cancel{m} + l + lapsed

2. Sort the twelve words into these two groups:

Words in which the <m> ...
assimilated either partially or fully: did not assimilate at all:
contents construct completely
confident contract compel
contain continent compare
correspond collapsed communities

3. The word accommodate contains an assimilated form of the prefix ad-, plus the prefix com-. Analyze it into its two prefixes and stem:

Word = Prefix^1 + Prefix^2 + Stem
accommodate =a\cancel{d}+c + com + modate

4. The prefix com- means “with” or “together.” Each of the following words consists of some form of com- plus a base. In the right hand column we give you the meaning of each base. You should be ready to discuss how you think the meaning of the prefix and the base go together to lead to the meaning of each word:

Word Base and Its Meaning
contract tract= “Draw, pull”
collect lect= “Choose, gather, read”
connect nect= “Blind”
contain tain= “Hold”
compare pare=“Equal”
compel pel=“Push, drive, strike”
construct struct=“Pile up”
collide lide=“Strike”
contact tact=“Touch”
conduct duct=“Lead, bring”
combine bine=“Two by two, two each”

Teaching Notes.

Item 3. Since accommodate is so often mispelled *accommodate, it would be worthwhile to point out to the students that there are two <m>'s there: one at the end of the prefix com-, another at the beginning of the stem modate.

Item 4. The discussion of the development of these words' modern meanings out of their root meanings could get a bit discursive and wide-ranging. It is probably less important that “correct” answers be arrived at than that the students spend some time thinking about the way one meaning can lead to another and the mind looks for connections and patterns.

Some other interesting bases for discussion: The pan in companion means “bread.” A companion was one with whom you broke bread. The same pan is in company. The base mune in community means “duties.” A community is originally a place of shared duties and responsibilities. The base fort in comfort means “strong”: When you comfort someone, you make them strong by being together.

For more on the assimilation of com-, see AES, pp. 178-81.

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Sep 08, 2014
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