Which prefix? 'Out-' or 'over-'?
Episode 191119 / 19 Nov 2019
This week's question
What are the differences between the prefixes 'out-' and 'over-'? - Tamanna
Which prefix can mean 'more than' in both a neutral way and a way that implies there is a problem?
A prefix is a group of letters added to the start of a word to change its meaning or make a new word. Examples are: mis-, un-, out-, over-
- Did you understand or did you misunderstand?
- That was an unsuccessful attempt. Try to be more successful next time.
Out- = not central
Out- can mean 'not central' or 'external' to nouns and adjectives: outskirts, outlying, outpatient.
- The building is on the outskirts of town.
- Most of the outlying region is desert.
Out- = away from
Out- can mean 'away from'
- What time is the outbound train?
- She met me with outstretched arms.
Out- = better
Out- can attach to verbs to add the meaning 'going further than' or 'being better than'. E.g. outlive, outmatch and outperform
- My grandma is very healthy. She'll probably outlive us all.
- Last night, my football team were totally outmatched.
Over- = too much
Over- commonly means 'too much' or 'more than enough' E.g. overcook, overreact, overpriced, overconfident, overheat and overdo.
- I'm late. I totally overslept.
- It's only a handstand. Don't get overexcited.
Over- = more than
Over- can mean 'more than' but without also meaning 'too much' in a negative way.
- Look! I've found a holiday for the over-60s.
- I can't tonight. I'm working overtime.
Over- = across
Over- can mean 'across'
- Do you prefer the underground or overland train?
Over- = above
Over- can mean 'on top of' or 'above'
- The overseer wasn't a very nice person.
- Watch out for that overhanging branch!
'Over-'. It can mean 'more than' in a neutral way (A holiday for the over-60s) or 'more than' in a negative way (I overslept!)
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