“Why do they use such big words?”

When faced with the word unapologetically, one student asked, “Why do they have to use such big words?  I suggested that it was not such a big word, and we took it apart.

  • un = not
  • the root = “apology”
  • etical = a suffix which changes a noun to an adjective, a variation would be -itical, -atical, or -al  (politicalheretical, mathematical, critical, etc.)
  • ly = a suffix which changes a word to an adverb

Once the student realizes the function of the prefix and suffixes, the word becomes more manageable.  He or she may still have to look up the definition, but the word no longer seems quite so big.

Exercise: Choose several root words (change, recognize, avoid might be possibilities) and add suffixes and prefixes to change their meaning: for example, changeable, unchangeable, interchangeable, interchaneably, unrecognizable, unrecognizably, avoidable, avoidably, unavoidably, avoidance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *