Questions tagged [negative-prefixes]

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Why is it some adjectives don't seem to accept negative prefixes and only are used with the negative adverb "not"?

I am specifically thinking of the word angry. If un- is generally used as a negative prefix applied to words of Germanic origin, why not angry, since I believe it comes from Old Norse? Is there a rule ...
1 vote
0 answers
24 views

Negating prefixes in implied repetition of adjective

Although his argument is incorrect, his grammar is [not]. Here, my intuition says we need the "not" to form the double negative "not incorrect". But a person I'm arguing with ...
1 vote
1 answer
67 views

How far can one go in creating new words?

Apparently the word disturbingly exists, but undisturbingly doesn't. However, I felt it better served to convey my meaning and was sure that any reader would understand what I mean. I also put it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Why is the "r" doubled in "arrhythmia"? [duplicate]

Why is the "r" doubled in "arrhythmia" relative to "rhythmia"? I'm guessing it's because English resists hyphenation of prefixes and suffixes ("a-rhythmia"), ...
3 votes
4 answers
455 views

How to hyphenate "non self destructive"?

Non self-destructive Non-self destructive Non-self-destructive Which one is correct?
3 votes
1 answer
495 views

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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1 vote
2 answers
305 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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0 votes
1 answer
822 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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0 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
342 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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
892 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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2 votes
4 answers
867 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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1 answer
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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·...
3 votes
2 answers
269 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
5k 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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2 answers
328 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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3 votes
2 answers
1k 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 meanings?...
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0 votes
2 answers
263 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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1 vote
1 answer
535 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
169 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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4 votes
2 answers
1k 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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4 votes
1 answer
952 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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9 votes
1 answer
4k 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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6 votes
4 answers
8k 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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20 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
21 votes
9 answers
11k 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k 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.
2 votes
1 answer
3k 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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-1 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
510 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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
6 votes
5 answers
6k 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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16 votes
2 answers
30k 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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1 answer
30k views

"Unauthentic" vs. "inauthentic" [closed]

Is there really no difference between inauthentic and unauthentic? If there is, which is more correct?
34 votes
4 answers
82k 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 ...
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28 votes
2 answers
64k 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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0 votes
2 answers
1k 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- is added to ...
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7 votes
2 answers
10k views

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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20 votes
2 answers
169k views

What's the difference between "dissatisfied" and "unsatisfied"?

Is there a clear-cut difference between dissatisfied and unsatisfied?
9 votes
4 answers
7k 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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14 votes
5 answers
40k 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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2 votes
5 answers
6k views

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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1 vote
2 answers
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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 ...
6 votes
5 answers
229k 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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11 votes
1 answer
6k 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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7 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
2k 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, ...
5 votes
4 answers
45k 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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5 votes
7 answers
9k views

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?
31 votes
8 answers
4k views

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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