Under and Over – prefixes to expand your vocabulary

Under and Over – prefixes to expand your vocabulary

‘Over’ and ‘under’ are prepositions, but they can also be prefixes. Add them to the start of other words and they can form new words. Learn the meanings of 22 over- and under- words in this video lesson.

Over and under – they’re prepositions. But they can also be prefixes. Put them in front of other words and they make new words. Let’s start with under. I’ve got two meanings for you. The first one is like the preposition. It means beneath, so below or inside other things.
Heating that’s placed beneath the floor is called underfloor heating.
Trains that operate in the ground beneath streets are underground trains.
Clothes we wear next to our skin, beneath our other clothes, are underclothes or underwear.
We can go swimming or we can go underwater swimming.
Now the second meaning. What does the prefix ‘under’ mean in this word?

Excuse me.
This egg is undercooked.
Oh. It looks all right to me.
Are you kidding?
Ah, I see what you mean.

So what does under mean here? It means not enough – not sufficient.
If we don’t have enough insurance then we’re underinsured.
If a company doesn’t have enough workers, then it’s understaffed.
And if a worker doesn’t get paid enough, they’re underpaid.
Great. Now what about over? It’s the opposite of under and again we’ve got two meanings. The first one’s like the preposition. It means above or on top of.
A coat we wear on top of our normal clothes is an overcoat.
When we’re doing dirty work we might wear overalls. They call them coveralls in American English.
If we work more hours than usual – so on top of our normal hours, we work overtime.
OK, ready for the second meaning? What does over mean here?

This egg is overcooked. I can’t eat this.
There’s no need to overreact.

Overcooked means cooked too long. And overreact means react too strongly, with too much emotion. So over means too much – more than sufficient.

Sorry. I got overemotional.
Yes, you did.

There are some words we can combine with over or under and we get opposite meanings.
A road that passes under another road is an underpass. And a road that passes over another road is an… overpass. We also call it a flyover in British English.
If the price of something is less than its real value, it’s underpriced. And if it’s too expensive and it costs more than it’s worth it’s overpriced.
If you don’t let enough light in when you’re taking a photo, it will be underexposed. And if too much light gets in, it’ll be overexposed.
Some people have too much work to do and they are overworked. And others don’t have enough to do. They’re underworked.
Can you think of any more over- or under- words? Tell us in the comments. If you liked this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. Bye now.

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The suffix -ion (-tion, -sion)

The suffix -ion (-tion, -sion)

Learn how we can use the (very useful and very common) suffix -ion to turn many English verbs into nouns.

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The ion suffix video

I have a question. If a word ends in -ion, what kind of word is it? It’s probably a noun, a thing. We often add -ion to verbs to create nouns.


So compete is the verb. We add -ion and we get competition, the act of competing. Persuade is the verb. Add -ion and we get persuasion. The act of persuading.
-ion is a very common suffix and it might be spelled with a t or an s. Let’s look at some more -ion words.

A decision.
Construction. Destruction.

Can you tell if -ion is spelt with a t or an s? No, not really. Sometimes looking at the base verbs can help. So discuss becomes discussion with an s. Meditate becomes meditation with a t. But usually you need to learn the spellings one by one. Check on the web or in a dictionary.
We pronounce this suffix in two ways. Shun and Zhun. So either with an unvoiced sound, sh, shun, or a voiced sound, zh, zhun. Voiced, zhun, decision, zhun. Unvoiced, shun, construction, shun.

An explosion. Vacation.

Unvoiced, shun. Vacation, shun.
Voiced, zhun. Explosion, zhun.
But the really important thing about pronunciation is the rhythm. -ion syllables are always unstressed. It doesn’t matter how long the word is, the syllable in front of -ion gets the stress. So say -ion very quickly and focus on stressing the syllable in front of it. Let’s practise together. Say some words with me.
Action. DA-da. Action. DA-da.
Attention. da-DA-da. Attention, da-DAH-da.
Levitation. da-da-DA-da. Levitation. da-da-DA-da.
Communication. da-DA-da-DA-da. Communication. da-DA-da-DA-da.
Great! To help you get the rhythm of some more -ion words, I’ve made a video of a song for you. Its a classic Beach Boys number with lots of -ion words, so you can watch and sing along. I’ll put the details here and below as well. Or maybe you’d like to learn about another prefix or suffix? If so, click on our prefix and suffixes playlist. And have you subscribed to our channel yet? If you haven’t, make sure you do! You don’t want to miss our next video.

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The three meanings of the English prefix anti-

The three meanings of the English prefix anti-

Learn about the English prefix anti-. Explore words like anticlockwise, anti-war, antiseptic and understand the three meanings that commonly come with this prefix: the opposite, being against something and prevention.

The English Click here to see other prefix and suffix videos.
Click here to see other vocabulary videosprefix anti- video script

I’ve got three meanings of anti- for you. First meaning: the opposite.

Well, that was an anticlimax.

I was expecting an exciting climax but it was the opposite, so it was an anti-climax.
Clocks move clockwise. If they went in the opposite direction, it would be anti-clockwise in British English. An anti-clockwise clock. That would be weird.

Hey, stop! In American English we don’t say anticlockwise. We say counterclockwise.
Are you anti-British English?
Yes. Go American! USA. USA.

And that’s another meaning of anti-. It means opposed to or against. So if you don’t like or you don’t agree with something, you’re anti it.
A lot of people don’t like this so they’re antismoking. Or they may not agree with this so they’re anti-gambling. And lots of people are concerned about this. They don’t want smaller or weaker children getting hurt or frightened so they are anti-bullying.
We might protest about things we don’t like so have rallies or campaigns to show opposition to things like war, nuclear weapons or violence. And the third meaning is tied up with this. It’s the idea of acting to prevent something – to stop it happening.
These guns were built to stop enemy aircraft so they are they are anti-aircraft guns. These pills were designed to prevent depression, so they are antidepressants. This treatment was designed to stop people looking old, so it’s an anti-aging treatment. I’d like some of that. If you don’t want your computer to get viruses then you need antivirus software. And one more.

This mouthwash prevents infections. It’s antiseptic.

It’s antispetic. Great! So we’ve got three meanings but they’re all connected. Preventing something, being the opposite, and being against something.
Is there anything that you’re anti? Tell us in the comments. I hope you’re not anti-English. Click here to learn some more English prefixes and suffixes.

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The -able suffix

The -able suffix

When we add the suffix -able to verbs, we can form new words – adjectives that indicate you can do something.

What kind of words are these? What part of speech? They’re all adjectives. When you see -able on the end of a word, it’s probably an adjective. It generally means you can do something.

The label says washable, so I can wash it.
Washable. Washable. Washable. Not washable.

If a crime can be solved, it’s solvable. If a problem can be avoided, it’s avoidable. And the suffix -able can also mean that something has a particular characteristic or quality.
Breakable. Recyclable. Comfortable.
Notice the pronunciation of this word.

Sit down. I’m comfortable.
Please sit up Molly. Oh mom. I’m comfortable.

It has three syllables. Comfortable. What about the ‘or’, Vicki? I don’t know. We just don’t usually say it. Comfortable. DA-da-da. Comfortable
The schwa in -able is a weak sound. So we don’t say able. /’e?bl/ We say able. /?bl/
Let’s hear some more words.
If someone knows a lot and has a lot of knowledge we can say they are knowledgeable.
If something produces a profit or a useful result we can say it is profitable.
If something is satisfactory and we can accept it, we can say it is acceptable.
If we know in advance that something will happen and we can predict it, it is predictable.
If something is easy to enjoy we can say it is enjoyable. Great. You’ve got the idea. So what’s your favourite -able word? Tell us in the comments. And if this lesson was enjoyable, why not watch another? Click here. Click here.

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bi- prefix

The bi- prefix. Learn its meaning and see examples

Watch this video to learn about English words with the bi- prefix. Learn the meaning of bi- and see examples.  Also learn the difference between bi-weekly, biannual and biennial.

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Bi- prefix video script

What does the bi- in bicycle mean? Bi means two. A bicycle has two wheels.
What do we call a plane that has two sets of wings? A biplane
Next one. How do we describe someone that speaks two languages? Hello. Bon jour. Bilingual.
Next one. Bigamy. Bigamy is a crime. What crime is it? Bigamy is being married to two people at the same time. And we call a person who commits bigamy a bigamist.
OK, what do you think binary means? It’s a system of numbers and it uses only zeros and ones, like the numbers used in computers
And next one, what do we call a creature with two feet? Biped.
As well as two, bi- can also mean twice, so if you hold meetings bi-weekly, you hold them twice a week. What if you hold them twice a year? Do you hold them biannually or biennially? It’s biannually. Twice a year. A biennial event happens once every two years.
Can you think of any more bi- words? Tell us in the comments. And click here for more prefixes and suffixes.

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The -aholic and -oholic suffixes

The -aholic and -oholic suffixes

Learn how to use the prefixes -aholic and -oholic to create new words. Get creative and make up your own new English words.

Can you think of any words that end -oholic? The most frequent one is alcoholic.

This is whisky. It’s an alcoholic drink. And this is orange juice. It’s a soft drink.

Alcoholic is an adjective. It describes something that contains alcohol. And alcoholic can also be a noun. An alcoholic is a person who regularly drinks too much alcohol and they can’t stop. They’re addicted. OK, back to the adjective. There are some other adjectives that end in this suffix. What do we call someone who is addicted to work. They can’t stop working. No, not that guy! Yeah, that guy. We call people who can’t stop working workaholics. OK. Next one. What do we call someone who is crazy about chocolate. They can’t stop thinking about it and eating it. It’s a chocoholic.
And one more. What do we call someone who loves shopping? They can’t stop. It’s a shopaholic.
These words are all informal and they’re designed to sound funny. There aren’t many words that end -aholic but you’re allowed to make them up. So you can invent a new one. So can you invent a new one? Invent one put it in the comments. Maybe it’s a word for someone who is addicted to food or some kind of food. Or sleep or some kind of activity.
Or words. If you’re a wordaholic, you’ll to want to watch the next video in the playlist now. Go on. Go on.

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prefixes and suffixes

Grow your English Vocabulary Fast with Prefixes and Suffixes

Watch this video to find out about our prefixes and suffixes playlist.

Do you want to grow your English vocabulary? Then I’m making a playlist for you.

Come and get them. Come and get them. Ten English words for the price of one.
Really? That’s amazing. What a good deal!
This is the best place to learn new English words.

Prefixes and suffixes can tell us a lot about the meanings of words and the grammar of words. They help us understand the new words we see and hear and sometimes we can use them to make new words too.

This is the best way to expand your vocabulary fast.
It’s a very productive use of your time.

So we’re going to look at how we build words in English and keep checking back because I’ll be adding new videos all the time.
Click here to watch my new playlist on prefixes and suffixes. A little bit of work can deliver big benefits. Click. Click.

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