Tuesday, April 9

Positive to Negative




images courtesy of stock.xchng 



Opposite means completely different.



It’s easy to make opposite Adjectives in English, if you know the right Vocabulary to use.



For example, do you know the opposite words (Antonyms) of the following?



heavy    

__________
tall

__________
small

__________
cheap

__________
easy

__________
loud

__________
dark

__________
fat

__________
clean

__________
messy

__________



Please think about them before you look at the answers.



Here they are:



heavy    

light
tall

short
small

big / large
cheap

expensive
easy

hard / difficult
loud

soft / quiet/
silent

dark

bright
fat

thin / slim
clean

dirty
messy

neat / tidy



As you can see, we use other words to talk about the opposite of an idea or quality.



But sometimes in English, we don’t use another word to do this.



Take a look:



friendly

unfriendly
expensive

inexpensive
married

unmarried



We don’t change the original word. Instead, we just add some letters at the beginning.



We call these letters a “prefix.”



We add a prefix at the beginning of a word to change its meaning, and to make a new word.





There are many kinds of prefixes in English. For example, “re+” means “again” or “back.”



On the other hand, “pre+” means “before.”



So,


Original Word

Prefix
New Word
Meaning
view

re +
review
= study again
view

pre +
preview
= look in advance
cede

re +
recede
= move back
cede

pre +
precede
= come before




Negative Prefixes



In English, 4 of the most common prefixes that give a negative or opposite meaning are:


# 1. Un


# 2. In


# 3. Dis


# 4. Im



These 4 prefixes are used to switch the meaning, to turn a word from positive to negative. Whether it is a Verb, Adjective or Adverb.



Here are some examples:



# 1. Un = unfair, unbelievable, uncooked, unseen, undead etc.


the Undead


# 2. In = inhospitable, incorrect, insensitive, invisible, inactive etc.



# 3. Dis = dishonest, displeased, discontinued, disqualified, disenchanted etc.



# 4. Im = imperfect, immortal, improper, immeasurable, impenetrable etc.  



Because of their common meaning (Not), it's hard for learners to know which one to use for a particular word.



How do we choose among them?




Un vs. Dis



Un” is older than “dis” in the history of English. In the beginning, “un” mainly talked about the reverse of an action (ex. unfasten, unbind etc).



On the other hand, “dis” came a bit later, in the Middle Ages. At first it had the meaning of two or separation (ex. disjoin, disconnect).



As time passed, the usages of the two became very similar to each other, especially when added before Adjectives.



Sometimes only one of them can be used. At other times both of them can be used but with perfectly different meanings.


Ex.


Unpleased = X Displeased = Ok


Unintelligent = Ok Disintelligent = X


Unsatisfied = Ok Dissatisfied = Ok

(different meanings)


Uninterested = Ok Disinterested = Ok

(different meanings)



In the end, learning and mastering the use of all these negative prefixes is a matter of idiomatic expression.



This means that you have to memorize them by reading books, and listening to and copying fluent speakers.




In vs. Im



You might have noticed that, when (1) the last letter of the prefix and (2) the first letter of the base word are the same, we have a double letter spelling.



Take a look:



Dis + satisfied = dissatisfied


Dis + similar = dissimilar


Un + necessary = unnecessary



Another prefix that makes negative meaning is “in.” But the special thing about "in" is that it can change spelling to match the first letter of the base word. Especially to make a double letter spelling.



This way:


In + valuable = invaluable


In + accurate = inaccurate



But:



In + perfect = inperfect X


In + legal = inlegal X


In + relevant = inrelevant X



This is why we have other negative prefixes. We can also use “im,” “il,” and “ir.”



# 1. Im = Use this if the base word starts with “m” or “p


Ex. Impossible, immodest etc.



# 2. Il = Use this if the base word starts with “l


Ex. Illegal, illiterate etc.  



# 3. Ir = use this if the base word starts with “r


Ex. Irresponsible, irreversible etc.



Let’s Practice!



Try and see if your knowledge of the negative prefixes is good enough.



Please use “un,” “dis,” “in,” “im,” “ir,” or “il.”



Original Adjective

Opposite

lucky


polite


successful


important


happy


significant


effective


logical


regular


mature





Here are our answers:



Original Adjective

Opposite

lucky

unlucky
polite

impolite
successful

unsucessful
important

unimportant
happy

unhappy
significant

insignificant
effective

ineffective
logical

illogical
regular

irregular
mature

immature



It’s time for you to start memorizing Vocabulary in positive and negative pairs. Just like in our tables above, you can keep a small notebook of them.



This way, you can also learn the confusing prefixes.



And once you’ve improved your Vocabulary on negative words, you will realize that among all the prefixes we studied today, “un” and “in” are in fact the most commonly used.





Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !










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