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Morphemes, the smallest part of a word that can contain meaning come from Greek, Anlgo-Saxon languages,or Latin.

They come in two flavors: bound morphemes and free morphemes.

  • bound morphemes need a friend to make sense. They have to get attached to a word like the plural -s to make any sense.
  • free morphemes make sense on their own. Think cow.

Our free morphemes come from Anglo-Saxon heritage. Words such as jump, run, plan. The bound morphemes come from Latin and Greek. We often use them to sound all sciency.

Bound morphemes make up our prefixes and our suffices. We break these down further based on how they change the meaning of the word.


  • Prefixes as bound morphemes change the meaning of the words. Partial to impartial or cool to uncool for example. Adding the bound morpheme changed the meaning
  • Derivational suffixes also change the meaning and often the part of speech. Tak the verb “act” turning to the noun “action.” Now think about all the words you can that end in -tion. All nouns, correct? Can you determine the root word?
  • Inflectional suffixes still get bound to a word but they do not change the the meaning orpart of speech. They show possession, past tense or plurals. Think her and hers, jump and jumped, or car and cars.
  • Root words- the root words from Latin and Greek round out our bound morphemes.You affix most root with prefixes in the beginning or suffixes at the end. Think about the word biology. You get bio, the root word meaning life, and then logy for “study of.”

In the Classroom

morpheme.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/07 16:56 by