Morphology is the research of words and their parts. Morphemes, favor prefixes, suffixes and also base words, are defined as the smallest meaningful units that meaning. Morphemes are important for phonics in both reading and also spelling, and in vocabulary and also comprehension.

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Why use morphology

Teaching morphemes unlocks the structures and meanings in ~ words. That is very useful to have a strong awareness of prefixes, suffixes and also base words. This are often spelt the same across different words, even when the sound changes, and often have a regular purpose and/or meaning.


Types that morphemes

cost-free vs. Bound

Morphemes can be either single words (free morphemes) or parts of native (bound morphemes).

A cost-free morpheme can stand alone as its own word


A tied morpheme only occurs as part of a indigenous

-s together in cat+s-ed together in crumb+edun- together in un+happymis- as in mis-fortune -er together in teach+er

In the instance above: un+system+atic+al+ly, over there is a source word (system) and bound morphemes that affix to the source (un-, -atic, -al, -ly)

system = source un-, -atic, -al, -ly = bound morphemes

If two complimentary morphemes room joined together they create a compound word. These words space a great way to present morphology (the study of indigenous parts) into the classroom.

For much more details, see: compound words

muco vs. D​​erivational

Morphemes can also be separated into inflectional or derivative morphemes.

Inflectional morphemes change what a word walk in terms of grammar, yet does not produce a new word.

For example, the word has countless forms: skip (base form), skipping (present progressive), skipped (past tense).

The inflectional morphemes -ing and also -ed are included to the basic word skip, to suggest the tense of the word.

If a word has actually an inflectional morpheme, it is tho the very same word, v a few suffixes added. So if you looked up in the dictionary, then just the basic word would gain its own entry right into the dictionary. Skipping and skipped are listed under skip, together they are inflections that the basic word. Skipping and skipped perform not acquire their own thesaurus entry.


verb, skipped, skipping.

to move in a light, springy path by bounding front with alternative hops on every foot. To happen from one point, thing, subject, etc.,to another, disregarding or omitting what intervenes: that skipped with the book walk away hastily and secretly; flee there is no notice.

From - skip

Another instance is : run (base form), running (present progressive), ran (past tense). In this instance the past tense marker changes the vowel of the word: run (rhymes v fun), come ran (rhymes with can). However, the muco morphemes -ing and also past it s too dirty morpheme are added to the base word , and are detailed in the same thesaurus entry.


verb, ran, run, running.

to go conveniently by moving the legs an ext rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an prompt in each step all or both feet room off the relocate with haste; act quickly: operation upstairs and get the depart quickly; take to flight; flee or escape: to operation from danger.

From - run

Derivational morphemes are various to muco morphemes, as they do derive/create a brand-new word, which it s okay its very own entry in the dictionary. Derivational morphemes assist us to create brand-new words the end of basic words.

For example, we have the right to create new words from by adding derivational prefixes (e.g. Again- en-) and suffixes (e.g. -or).

Thus out of we can obtain re+act = reaction en+act = spreading act+or = actor.

Whenever a derivational morpheme is added, a brand-new word (and dictionary entry) is derived/created.

For the example, the following dictionary entries deserve to be found:



anything done, gift done, or to be done; deed; performance: a heroic act.the procedure of doing: recorded in the act. A formal decision, law, or the like, through a legislature, ruler, court, or various other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgement, resolve, or award: an act of Parliament.

From - act


to act in solution to an agent or influence: exactly how did the audience react to the speech?to act reciprocally upon every other, as two act in a reverse direction or manner, specifically so as to return to a front condition.

From - react


to make right into an plot or statute: Parliament has enacted a brand-new tax stand for on or as on the stage; action the part of: to enact Hamlet.

From - enact


a human being who plot in phase plays, motion pictures, tv broadcasts, etc. A person who does something; participant.

From - actor

Teachers need to highlight and encourage students come analyse both Inflectional and Derivational morphemes once focussing ~ above phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension.

For more information, see: 

Prefixes, suffixes, and roots/bases

Many morphemes are an extremely helpful because that analysing unfamiliar words. Morphemes can be split into prefixes, suffixes, and also roots/bases.

Prefixes space morphemes that attach to the former of a root/base word.Suffixes are morphemes that connect to the end of a root/base word, or to various other suffixes (see instance below)Roots/Base words space morphemes that kind the base of a word, and usually carry its meaning. Generally, base words are free morphemes, that can stand by themselves (e.g. Cycle together in bicycle/cyclist, and form as in transform/formation).Whereas root words room bound morphemes the cannot stand by themselves (e.g. -ject together in subject/reject, and -volve together in evolve/revolve).

Most morphemes have the right to be divided into:

Anglo-Saxon Morphemes (like re-, un-, and -ness); Latin Morphemes (like non-, ex-, -ion, and -ify); and also Greek Morphemes (like micro, photo, graph).

It is helpful to highlight exactly how words can be broken down right into morphemes (and which each of this mean) and how they have the right to be gathered again).

For example, the word may be unfamiliar come students when they first encounter it.

If is broken into its morphemes, students have the right to deduce or infer the meaning.


So that is advantageous for both reading and spelling to administer opportunities come analyse words, and also become acquainted with common morphemes, including their definition and function.

Compound words

Compound indigenous (or compounds) are produced by joining totally free morphemes together. Remember the a complimentary morpheme is a morpheme that deserve to stand follow me as its very own word (unlike bound morphemes - e.g. -ly, -ed, re-, pre-). Compounds room a fun and accessible method to present the idea the words have the right to have multiple parts (morphemes). Teachers have the right to highlight the these compound words are consisted of of two separate words joined together to do a brand-new word. For instance dog + house = doghouse



Example tasks of highlighting morphemes because that phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension

There are numerous ways to to mark morphemes because that the purpose of phonics, vocabulary and also comprehension activities and lessons.

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Highlighting the morphology of words is beneficial for explaining phonics trends (graphemes) and also spelling rules, and discovering the meanings of unfamiliar words, and demonstrating how words are attached together. Highlighting and analysing morphemes is additionally useful, therefore, because that providing understanding strategies.

Examples of how to embed morphological awareness into literacy tasks can include:

Sorting words by base/root indigenous (word families), or by prefixes or suffixesWord Detective - student break much longer words down into their prefixes, suffixes, and base wordse.g. Find the morphemes in multi-morphemic indigenous like: dissatisfied unstoppable ridiculously hydrophobic metamorphosis oxygenate fortificationsWord Builder - students are given base words and also prefixes/suffixes and see how numerous words they have the right to build, and what an interpretation they might have:Prefixes: un- de- pre- re- co- con-Base Words: play aid flex bend blue sad satSuffixes: -ful -ly -less -able/-ible -ing -ion -y -ish -ness -mentEtymology examination - student are offered multi-morphemic indigenous from texts they have been reading and also are asked to research study the origins (etymology) of the word. Teachers can use words prefer progressive, circumspect, revocation, and also students can find out the morphemes within each word, your etymology, meanings, and also use.​
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