Prefixes Exercise (461)

Select the correct form of each missing word.

  • She asked them to help her ________ the incident.

  • The organization’s _________ was invited to speak at its annual conference.

  • It is able to see colors in the _________ spectrum.

  • He replaced the chair because it would have cost too much to _______ it.

  • We weren’t sure whether the reference to a ________ meeting means "twice a year" or "once every two years."

Answers and Explanations

1. She asked them to help her reenact the incident.

Some style guides retain a hyphen when the prefix "re" precedes a word starting with an "e," but it isn’t necessary, and most handbooks recommend omitting the hyphen.

2. The organization’s ex-president was invited to speak at its annual conference.

Words with the prefix "ex," meaning "former," are always hyphenated.

3. It is able to see colors in the ultraviolet spectrum.

"Ultra" is never followed by a hyphen, except in the very rare instance when a word is coined in which the root word starts with an "a" (as in "ultra-achiever").

4. He replaced the chair because it would have cost too much to re-cover it.

To eliminate ambiguity, when a word with a prefix has the same arrangement of letters as an existing word, hyphenate the prefix, as here, even though, as mentioned above, the prefix "re" is not normally attached to a root word with a hyphen.

5. We weren’t sure whether the reference to a biannual meeting means "twice a year" or "once every two years."

The prefix "bi" is always attached directly to a root word.

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