#EngClass: Prefixes That Show Direction and Position

Heyya, fellas! How’s your Wednesday? Did you have a great day

Today, we’ll continue our #EngClass on Prefix. If you missed last week’s session, let me point you to it: #EngClass: Prefix (Revisit)

The prefixes we’ll talk about today indicate direction or position. Let’s start!


Ec- and ex- mean “out of”, whereas em-, en-, im- and in- mean “into”.

Let’s get to know them a bit more.


Ex- is actually a loan-word from Latin, meaning “out, out of, away, forth”. E.g.: exclude, exhale, exit, export, extract, exceed.

Export | Prefix: Ex- | Root word: Port

Example: A lot of our land is used to grow crops for export.


Ec- means “out from, away from”. E.g.: ecbolic, eccentric, ecdysis, ecletic, eclipse. Ec- is a variation of ex-, and is usually used before a consonant.

Eccentric | Prefix: Ec- | Root word: Centric

Example: He had an eccentric habit of collecting stray cats.


En- means “put in or on, go on or into, cover with.” E.g.: encourage, entomb, enthrone, encapsulate, enable, enrich, endear.

Encourage | Prefix: En- | Root word: Courage

Example: The policy encourages people to declare more assets.


Em- is a variation of en-, meaning: “to make into, to put into, to furnish with.” E.g.: empower, embalm, embody. Em- is used before b, m, and p.

Empower | Prefix: Em- | Root: Power

Example: We should empower the underprivileged by means of education.


In- means “in, into, within, inundation.” E.g.: income, indwelling, inland.

In- also means not or non-. E.g.: incredible; insincere; illegal; imperfect; irregular.

Before l, in- is usually assimilated to il-; before r to ir-; and before b, m, and p to im-.

Inland | Prefix: In- | Root word: Land

Example: These flowers grow better inland.



Infra-, hypo- and sub- means “below or under”, whereas super- means “above or over”.


Infra- means: “Inferior to, below, or beneath.” E.g.: infrastructure, infrasonic, infralapsarian, infrared.

Infrastructure | Prefix: Infra- | Root word: Structure

Example: Nations work to expand justice in the society and provide infrastructure to promote commerce.


Hypo- means: “below, beneath, under, less than normal, deficient.” E.g.: hypodermic, hypoesthesia, hypoglycemia.

Hypodermic | Prefix: Hypo- | Root: Dermic

Example: He felt the nurse stuck the hypodermic in his arm.


Sub- means: “below, under, beneath, subordinate, secondary.” E.g.: subsoil, subterranean, subway, subeditor, subhuman.

Subway | Prefix: Sub- | Root word: Way

Example: She took the subway to work this morning.


Super- means: “above or over, superior, excessive, extreme”. E.g.: superimpose, supermarket, superlative, supersonic.

Superimpose | Prefix: Super- | Root word: Impose.

Example: She superimposed her own interpretation.



Pre- and pro- means “in front of”, whereas trans- means “across or over”.


Pre- means: “before in time, rank, order, position.” E.g.: prepay, predate, prehistoric, prehistoric, prefrontal, preschool.

Prepay | Prefix: Pre- | Root word: Pay.

Example: The prize winner had to prepay the taxes.


Pre- is usually prefixed to words without using a hyphen. For example: prefix, predate.

  • A hyphen is used if there’s likely to be a mispronunciation of the word because “pre” appears not to be a complete syllable.
  • A hyphen is always used in British English before the letter e. E.g.: pre-existing
  • Or in fact, a hyphen is Often used in British English before other vowels. E.g.: pre-operative
  • Also, a hyphen is always used in all varieties of English before a character other than a letter. E.g.: pre-1960

Pro- means “before in time or position, anterior, forward”. E.g.: prophase, prognosis, provision, prologue, proceed, proconsul.

Prognosis | Prefix: Pro- | Root word: gignōskein or gnō-

Example: Doctors said his prognosis is good.


Trans- means “across or over”. E.g.: transpolar, transoceanic, trans-Siberian, transatlantic, transcontinental.

Transoceanic | Prefix: Trans- | Root: Oceanic.

Example: They promised an enjoyable transoceanic journey.


And so that’s the end of tonight’s #EngClass, fellas! Mention us if you have any question and we’ll try our best to answer.




Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.

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