I’m sure you have heard the words OVER and UNDER before. In this blog post I’ll show you how they can be used as prefixes to change the meaning of other words you may already know!
Do you know what a prefix is? A prefix is:
a letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a word to change its meaning, such as un- in unhappy and pre- in preheathttps://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/prefix_1?q=prefix
In English when OVER is used as a prefix it can mean EXCESSIVELY or too much.
If your luggage is too heavy when you weigh it at the airport, your bags are overweight. (Overweight is an adjective.)
If you eat too much at a buffet and now your stomach hurts, it may be because you overate. (Overate is the past tense of the verb overeat.)
Both these words (overweight – overeat) show that something is too much or was done too much.
Let me give you a few more examples of how we use these words in natural sentences.
“I can’t believe my team lost the league championship after we played such a great season. I guess we thought the final would be easy so we were overconfident.” = excessively (too) confident
“Some people have actually died from overwork! Remember to keep time in your life for fun too!”
Overwork is a noun in this sentence. It can also be a verb
“Work hard but be careful not to overwork.”
OVER can also mean COMPLETELY or totally
“I was overjoyed when I found out that I won a free vacation!” = completely happy
In English we use the prefix UNDER to mean BELOW or NOT ENOUGH.
You may already know some common words that use this prefix.
These words talk about a position or location, they mean below ground and below the surface of the water.
Let me give you a few more examples of how we use UNDER as a prefix where the meaning is NOT ENOUGH
“I’m gonna send this hamburger back. It’s undercooked.” = not cooked enough
(Undercooked is an adjective.)
“Peter applied for a new job but he was underqualified.” = Peter doesn’t have enough qualifications for this job
(Underqualified is an adjective.)
“I think that Batman vs Superman was a good movie. It’s underrated in my opinion.” I think it’s not rated high enough. People are unfairly judging the movie (in my opinion)
Undercooked, underqualified and underrated are adjectives.
Some people who work very hard at their job but feel like they don’t get enough money might say:
“I’m overworked and underpaid.”
both of these words are adjectives.
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