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Latin and Greek Word Elements

Latin Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

Greek Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

English is a living language, and it is growing all the time. One way that new words come into the language is when words are borrowed from other languages. New words are also created when words or word elements, such as roots, prefixes, and suffixes, are combined in new ways.

Many English words and word elements can be traced back to Latin and Greek. Often you can guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word if you know the meaning.

A word root is a part of a word. It contains the core meaning of the word, but it cannot stand alone. A prefix is also a word part that cannot stand alone. It is placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning. A suffix is a word part that is placed at the end of a word to change its meaning. Often you can guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word if you know the meaning of its parts; that is, the root and any prefixes or suffixes that are attached to it.


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