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15.19: The Set of Bases cede, ceed, and cess

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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1. Cede and cess are a set much like ceive and cept, and duce and duct:

When you concede something, you make a concession.

When the economy recedes, it is a recession.

The pattern for the bases in this set is much like those you've been working with, with one extra complication. Some of the words in this array are quite rare, but don't let that worry you; the important thing is to see the pattern:

Verbs Nouns Nouns
cede cession
concede concession
intercede intercession
precede precess precession
recede recess recession
secede secess secession
succeed success succession
proceed process procession
exceed excess

2. In the array succeed, proceed, and exceed are different from the other verbs. What is the difference? In them the base [s\begin{align*}\bar{e}\end{align*}e¯d] is spelled <eed> rather than <cede>.

3. In this array the verbs are formed with the bases cede and ceed, and their nouns are formed with the base cess.

Cede and ceed are two different forms of the same base. When two forms like cede and ceed are so much alike in sound, meaning, and spelling, the little difference in spelling can be confusing. Since succeed, proceed, and exceed are the only verbs that contain the ceed form, the easiest thing to do is to remember the three. A mnemonic sentence can help:

If you proceed and do not exceed, you will succeed.

And some people remember the three with the use of a little diagram based on the word speed:






The <spe> in speed can help you remember the first letters of the three verbs, and the <eed> in speed can help you remember that these three contain the form ceed.

3. Combine the following elements to form nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Elements Word Part of Speech
ex + ceed + ing + ly exceedingly Adverb
ex + cess + ive + ly excessively Adverb
re + cess + ive recessive Adjecive
ne + cess + ary necessary Adjective
ante + ced\begin{align*}\cancel{e}\end{align*} + ent + s antecedents Noun
a\begin{align*}\cancel{d}\end{align*}+ c + cess + ible accessible Adjective
pro + ceed + ing + s proceedings Noun
ne + cess + ity necessity Noun
se + cess + ion + ist secessionist Noun
ne + cess + ary + ly necessarily Adverb

Teaching Notes.

Item 1. The OED lists an obsolete concess, which was a synonym to concession. It also lists an obsolete verb, not noun, intercess. And it lists another obsolete and rare noun excession “a going out or forth.”

Items 2 and 3. Cede, ceed, and cess derive from the Latin verb c\begin{align*}\bar{e}\end{align*}dere “go, go back; halt, give way.” Cess comes from the past participle form, cessus. Cede and ceed come from the stem of the infinitive, ced. It is not clear why the bases in exceed, proceed, and succeed are spelled the way they are. Their earliest spellings in English, usually \begin{align*}14^{\mathrm{th}}\end{align*} century, were <cede>. The <ceed> spelling does not arise until the \begin{align*}16^{\mathrm{th}}\end{align*} century.

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