"Pre-": The Prefix of Prefixes


Quick Summary

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix pre-, which means “before,” appears in numerous English vocabulary words, for example: predict, prevent, and prefix! An easy way to remember that the prefix pre- means “before” is through the word prevent, for when you come “before” something else to stop it from happening, you prevent it.

Today we will focus on the prefix pre-, which means “before.” Prefixes are morphemes which begin words, attaching to a word’s main part, or root, adding to the meaning of the word in some way. The word prefix itself has the prefix pre- in it. A prefix is an affix which is fastened or fixed “before” the primary root or stem of a word.

When you try to prevent something, you come “before” it to put a halt to it, thereby keeping it from happening. Someone who is being precise cuts off all inaccuracies “beforehand” to keep only the exact facts. If you’re filled with prejudice towards a particular person, you have judged her “before” knowing her full story.

When you preview a movie, you see it “beforehand” to see if it’s appropriate for younger viewers. By seeing the movie ahead of time, you don’t have to predict or say “beforehand” whether the movie is good or not, since not all predictions are accurate. In this way you prepare in advance, getting ready “before” it’s too late. This is a fine way of taking a precaution, or a being careful “beforehand.”

Sometimes it’s hard for voters to know for whom they will prefer to vote, or which candidate they will carry “before” others when it comes to casting their ballot. It can be a hard choice to know for whom to vote for president, or that person who sits “before” us all governing the country.

Hopefully this preview of the prefix pre- will lead towards precision “before” seeing any words with pre- in them!

  1. prefix: morpheme fastened ‘before’ a root of a word
  2. prevent: come ‘before’
  3. precise: cut ‘before’
  4. prejudice: judge ‘before’
  5. preview: see ‘before’
  6. predict: say ‘before’
  7. prepare: get ready ‘before’
  8. precaution: a being cautious ‘beforehand’
  9. prefer: carry ‘before’ others
  10. president: leader who sits ‘before’ all others

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