Happy #MorphemeMonday Everyone!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to our Canadian Readers. I am thankful to all of my readers who are taking their own time to help support their students’ learning.

Origin: Latin

Definition: under, beneath, below; secondary
Examples: subsequent, substitution, subsist, subservient, subalternate

<sub> + <class> = subclass

<sub> + < soil> = subsoil

<sub> + <junct> + <ive> = subjunctive

<sub> + <script> + <ion> = subscription

<sub> + <ject> + <ion> = subjection


  • This prefix has several variants where the final letter ‘b’ will change depending on the first letter of the base element it is attached to.
    • suc – used before base elements beginning with a ‘c’
      Examples: succumb, success
    • suf – used before base elements beginning with a ‘f’
      Examples: suffer, suffix
    • sug – used before base elements beginning with a ‘g’
      Example: suggestion
    • sum – used before base elements beginning with a ‘m’
      Example: summit, summarize
    • sup – used before base elements beginning with a ‘p’
      Examples: suppressive, suppose
    • sus – used before base elements beginning with a ‘p’ or ‘t’
      Examples: suspect, suspicion, sustain, sustenance
  • This is a common prefix that intermediate students will come across on a regular basis. In the first lesson, I would just discuss the most common form <sub>. In follow-up lessons when reviewing the prefix, I would introduce some of the alternate forms of the prefix.

Origin: Greek

Definition: light

Examples: photocopy, photosensitive, photochemical, photosynthesis, phototropism

<photo> + <play> = photoplay

<tele> + <photo> + <graph> + <y> = telephotography

<photo> + <stat> = photostat

<photo> + <micro> + <scope> = photomicroscope

<astro> + <photo> + <graph> = astrophotograph

  • Technically speaking, this is a Greek combining form.
  • Since the etymology (where it is from) of this combining form is Greek, the /f/ sound is spelled with a ‘ph’ instead of an ‘f’.
  • This combining form is commonly found in many scientific words and it is one that would be useful for intermediate students to learn in their science classes. This can be taught in context or as part of an introductory welcome back to science lesson.

Origin: Old English

Definition: inclined to

Examples: blotchy, brawny, dreary, floppy, seedy, wordy

<fog> + <y> = foggy

<bush> + <y> = bushy

<scrap> + <y> = scrappy

<milk> + <y> = milky

<health> + <y> = healthy

  • This suffix is adjective forming, meaning it changes the base word into an adjective.
  • This suffix is typically used with Old English base words.
  • This suffix is great to teach to younger students because they have fun creating their own words.
  • It is important to discuss the 1-1-1 Doubling Rule, when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel to a single syllable word, with a short vowel sound and one final consonant, double the consonant before adding the suffix. It will give you an opportunity to review short and long vowel sounds.For example, the word skin is a one-syllable word with a short vowel sound and ending in one final consonant so <skin> + <y> = skinny>. However, even though the word fish is one syllable with a short vowel sound, it has two consonants so <fish> +<y> = fishy.


Last week, October 7, 2019, the morphemes were the prefix <dys>, the root <lex> and the suffix <ia>.

Next week, October 21, 2019, the morphemes will be the prefix <in>, the root <mit> and the suffix <ity>.

Be sure to check out more graphics for these morphemes on our Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and Twitter pages.

If there is anything we can do or post to help you learn more about the importance of morphological awareness (or any other topic for that matter) please send an email to blog@garfortheducation.com

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