~ I like to cook, and while I was looking at some new recipes I saw a sweetener called “stevia” that seemed to be popular. I did some research and I found that it has been used in Canada and America recently, but it has been used in Japan for more than 30 years! When I asked my students if they have heard about stevia we talked about sweeteners.
“What is a sweetener?”
The word sweet is an easy and common word, so sweetener is a good example to use.
Root word technique
The root word is the base (root) of a new word. The root word is sometimes a word that we already understand, this can help us learn the meaning of the new word.
The root word of sweetener is sweet.
We know the meaning of the adjective sweet already, it describes a taste.
“Sugar and honey are sweet.”
Sweet can also be used as a noun (usually, a plural noun sweets) to mean candy.
“My dentist said I eat too many sweets!” = I eat too much candy.
Sweeten is a verb that means: to make something sweet
“Many people use sugar to sweeten their coffee. Black coffee is too bitter for most people.”
(Bitter is the opposite of sweet, but we never use bitteren as a verb!)
So now we understand sweeten, how about our new word sweetener? Let’s look at some other verbs that have “er” added at the end and see what they mean.
In baseball, the person who throws (pitches) the ball is called the pitcher. The person who hits (bats) the ball is the batter and the one who catches the ball is…?
*And not only for people, the machine that dries our hair is a hair dryer, the machine that mixes (blends) our food and drinks is a blender.
More examples of the English suffix ~er plus advance vocabulary here: Increase your English vocabulary with the suffix ~ER
What do you think a sweetener does? It makes things taste SWEET!
When we use sweetener we are most often talking about one that has fewer calories than sugar. An artificial (not natural) sweetener. Please look at the infographic below for more examples of words made from the root word SWEET.