Questions tagged [negative-prefixes]

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Differences in antonyms of “balance” with negative prefixes

Most words only have one correct negative prefix out of "in-", "im-", and "un-". Why are both "imbalance" and "unbalance" both grammatically correct (but "inbalance" is not")? What are differences in ...
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2answers
76 views

Transcription and pronunciation of the 'un-' prefix in General American English

What's the correct transcription and pronunciation of the 'un-' prefix in General American English? Cambridge Online dictionary provides the following transcription: /ʌn/ It's the same in words with ...
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1answer
50 views

Prefixes reversing the meaning of the base word

Is there a name for words whose meaning can be 'reversed' by adding a prefix? What I mean is words like unlikely, impossible, dissimilarity , which include a prefix that causes the meaning to be ...
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2answers
155 views

Disorganized or Unorganized?

Does anyone here know the difference between unorganized and disorganized? As far as I know, disorganized refers to something that was once organized and now isn't, and unorganized refers to ...
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2answers
52 views

Service will be 'unavailable Saturday' vs '…unavailable on Saturday' [duplicate]

I want to perfect this system message the most I can and am over-thinking the use of the proper words. Is it better to say "Email will be unavailable Saturday 12/29 from 5 PM to 9 PM" or "Email will ...
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1answer
167 views

Is there a reason for the prefix change of in-/un- in about the 60s period for these words?

I was looking up words beginning with prefix in-, the prefix meaning "opposite" or "negative". There is a pattern I've noticed, namely the one mentioned on Online Etymology Dictionary: The rule of ...
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0answers
95 views

Is there a prefix to denote neutrality?

English has prefixes to denote opposition as well as absence. For example: 'gnostic' vs 'agnostic' (having knowledge vs absence of knowledge) 'social' vs 'asocial' vs 'anti social' (being social, ...
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1answer
144 views

What are the subtle differences between nonarticulate, unarticulate, inarticulate, & misarticulate?

Dictionary.com lists these words as related to articulate: Related forms ar·tic·u·la·ble [ahr-tik-yuh-luh-buhl] /ɑrˈtɪk yə lə bəl/, adjective ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb ar·tic·u·late·ness, ar·...
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2answers
189 views

How did English get related words from the same Latin root but different negative prefixes?

I see that there is no consistent rule in English for which words use which negative prefix, but in‐ is generally for Latin roots and un‐ is generally for Germanic roots. However, I find it especially ...
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1answer
1k views

“Insignificant” or “unsignificant”?

In my job I test different versions of varying degrees on websites. Basically A vs B, and the results of this test determine which version should be developed. The way a winner is chosen is by ...
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2answers
119 views

Nonionic or non-ionic? [closed]

which is more correct or more frequently used? Nonionic or non-ionic (polymers)? It´s for an academic presentation.
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2answers
518 views

Difference between “disbelief” and “non-belief”

How should one use the words disbelief and non-belief especially when it relates to the belief in god? Consider these prefixes: Disbeliever of god Non-believer of god Do they have different ...
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2answers
200 views

Nadir or zenith of unprofessionalism?

In some other stackexchange group, someone used the words "nadir of unprofessionalism" to express that in his opinion, some behaviour was very, very unprofessional. Now "nadir" is the lowest point, ...
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1answer
331 views

Polysemous prefix 'un-'

The prefix 'un-' is polysemous. Its meaning depends on the word class of the root/stem it is being attached to: for verbs the meaning has a "reversible" effect and for adjectives it has a "negated" or ...
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0answers
130 views

how to use “non” or “no” together with a substantive to make an adjective

I'm trying to describe in a few words the idea of a sign (as a banner, a poster etc.) without any text on it, but only pictures. Can I use the phrase "non-text" as an adjective? Or maybe "no-text"? ...
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0answers
720 views

Why do so many prefixes mean “Not”

While trying to think of a brief list of English prefixes that mean "not" or "opposite to" in some way, I was wondering why so many exist. As English has roots in so many languages, I was hoping ...
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1answer
737 views

DIScomfort yet UNcomfortable

Why is the negation of comfort discomfort but the opposite of comfortable is uncomfortable? Or is the word "discomfortable" accepted too?
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1answer
2k views

What do you call a pair of words with opposite meanings that differ only by a prefix?

In general, words with opposite meanings are called antonyms. Is there a word that describes the subset of antonyms that are different only by a prefix where the prefix negates the meaning of the ...
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3answers
4k views

Deprivation and privation

"Deprivation" and "privation" seem to have the same meaning: the denial of material essentials or comforts. Isn't the prefix "de-" redundant? Is there a difference, either in literal usage or ...
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5answers
5k views

Is “Untap” an equivalent of “Unleash?”

While attempting to assist another user on another Stack Exchange site I stumbled upon this marketing page for the Samsung SSD 850 EVO that—to my mind—oddly states: Untap your computer’s potential ...
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9answers
7k views

Is there a better verb than “unignore”?

I am wondering if there is a word that is a verb and describes an operation that is the opposite of ignoring, but not in the sense of appreciate. I want a short way to describe the operation that ...
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1answer
810 views

Undeletable vs Indeletable [closed]

Why do we say undeletable instead of indeletable. Sometimes with other words we use an in prefix, such as with indefatigable. I'm curious about un vs in.
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1answer
2k views

“Dis-” prefix meaning and etymology [closed]

Most native speakers are used to "dis-" as a prefix having a negative or opposite connotation (disengaged, dissatisfied, disinterested). However, in rare cases, "dis-" is actually an amplifying prefix,...
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2answers
1k views

Prefixes for the opposite of “perishable”: unperishable, non-perishable, imperishable [closed]

Unperishable, non-perishable or imperishable? I'm quite confused about which prefix is used for the opposite of perishable. If more than one is used, what are the differences between them? Searching ...
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1answer
271 views

Does “unrenamed” mean “not yet renamed”?

I am writing a software and the following description cannot be more than 15-20 characters long. I need to concisely say “files that have not been renamed”. I think “unrenamed files” works, but ...
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2answers
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Preservation of the en- prefix form of Latin negative prefix in-, in enemy & enmity

The en- in enemy is a prefix meaning "not": the origin is Latin inimicus, from in- + amicus — a "not friend" or an "unfriend" (Online Etymology Dictionary—enemy). The Latin in- changed to en- when ...
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4answers
3k views

What is the difference between “irreligious” and “non-religious”?

Irreligious (Dictionary.com 1st definition): not religious; not practicing a religion and feeling no religious impulses or emotions. Non-religious (Google definition): not relating to or ...
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2answers
18k views

When is the prefix non- used vs un-?

Specifically, my students were asking why the terms "nonliving" and "undead" are the way they are. (And why "unliving" and "nondead" seem wrong.)
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1answer
22k views

“Unauthentic” vs. “inauthentic” [closed]

Is there really no difference between inauthentic and unauthentic? If there is, which is more correct?
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4answers
55k views

Why do we say INcomplete but UNcompleted?

I'm a native speaker and it's just occurred to me that this is a strange irregularity: "The work is incomplete." < Fine "The work is uncompleted." < Less common but still sounds "correct"...
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2answers
39k views

What is the difference between “unfeasible” and “infeasible”?

Both "unfeasible" and "infeasible" are words according to spell-check, and they appear have similar dictionary definitions. But what is the difference between the two words? Is one more acceptable to ...
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2answers
589 views

Is it correct to use un-tinted or non-tinted in this use?

Related forms nontinted, adjective overtint, verb overtint, noun retint, verb (used with object) untinted, adjective Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/untinted?s=t One un- ...
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2answers
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Dust vs. Undust?

The entry for "dust" from LDOCE says: dust1 (n.) [uncountable] → HOUSEHOLD dry powder consisting of extremely small bits of dirt that is in buildings on furniture, floors, etc. if they are ...
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2answers
163k views

What's the difference between “dissatisfied” and “unsatisfied”?

Is there a clear-cut difference between dissatisfied and unsatisfied?
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4answers
5k views

Insolvable, insoluble, and unsolvable

When speaking of a problem that has no solution, do the words insolvable, insoluble, and unsolvable have different shades of meaning? How do you decide which to use?
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5answers
34k views

What's the antonym of “prioritize”? [closed]

If someone is asked to do something important, they might say "I'll prioritize that". But if someone is asked to put something aside to work on something else more important, what could they say? In ...
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5answers
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Is “unsane” a word understood by a casual English speaker?

I have heard it used by some people e.g. Jacque Fresco, for example here. I know that people understand the meaning of the word "insane", but what about an average Joe and his understanding of the ...
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2answers
206 views

Using “not” versus the negation prefixes for negation

Let's take this sentence as an example He is able to move. Now, what is the best negation of that action between those two? He is not able to move. He is unable to move. And what makes ...
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5answers
156k views

“Not able to” vs. “unable to”

Which phrase is more suitable to convey one's inability to do something — "not able to" or "unable to"? For example, not able to join the meeting unable to join the meeting
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1answer
4k views

How does one capitalize words like “un-American”?

Google's dictionary lists it as "un-American" or "unAmerican" (which looks clumsy to me). Since American is a "demonym," I would usually capitalize it, so I feel compelled to capitalize "un-American" ...
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2answers
4k views

Why can we use “inadequate” but not “inspecific”?

I find the use of the word "inspecific" very natural. It makes sense and flows easily in sentences I speak and write (to myself at least). However, upon inspection, it is apparently not a valid ...
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1answer
1k views

Un-(adjective) but In-(noun) — does it ever go the other way?

Many pairs of words use un- as a prefix for the preferred adjective but in- as a prefix for the preferred noun (e.g. unstable/instability, unequal/inequality, unable/inability, unjust/injustice, ...
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4answers
34k views

“Not possible” and “Impossible”

When we say, It is not fair. or It is unfair. I'm not sure enough to say whether both of the sentences have the same meaning or not though superficially, there is no difference between them ...
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7answers
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Is “unpeeling an orange” grammatically correct?

I found this unsourced reference. Which made me wonder if it is correct or not? Could this be considered an "auto-antonym" like ravel and unravel?
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8answers
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Are “disgraceful” and “ungraceful” two different kinds of negations?

"Disgraceful" and "ungraceful" are both derived from negations of "graceful". Wiktionary describes disgraceful as bringing or warranting disgrace; shameful. giving offense to moral sensibilities and ...
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4answers
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“Instable” or “unstable”?

From my experience, it seems that although unstable is more commonly used, instable is often preferred in engineering and scientific contexts, e.g. "aircraft instability", "instable algorithm". Are ...
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3answers
10k views

in-able ? un-able?

Suffix -able adds meaning "being able" to a word. I know that. Prefix in- and un- mean "not" or some negative meaning. I know that. However, when it comes to mixing of these, I am confused. ...
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0answers
391 views

I was wondering why there are multiple prefixes for the same meaning [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “unequal” but “inequality”? Origins of negative prefixes like in-, un-, il-, ir-, dis-, a- There are a lot of prefixes for meaning "opposite". ...
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3answers
25k views

“Disbalanced” vs. “unbalanced”

What are the differences in usage between disbalanced and unbalanced?
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2answers
108k views

Rule to determine when to use the prefix “im” vs. “un” to negate a word starting with “p”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Negation prefixes: un-, dis-, a-, in-, … The prefix un is commonly used to negate a word, but is is quite rare with words that start with the letter p; the prefix im ...