what is the difference between a combining form and a combining vowel can someone

  1. please explain this to me. I had tow pop quizes and still can't point this out? What is wrong with me?

    how do you know when a word is a suffix or a prefix?

    I am lost in the medical terminology.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    root word + combining vowel = combining form

    If we're trying to figure out the meaning of liposuction, we can look at the root lip- and figure out that it has something to do with fat (as in lipemic, lipid, lipoma, etc). Lipo- isn't really the root for fat, but you need the o to avoid a really awkward word (lipsuction?). In that example, lip- is the root, o is the combining vowel, and lipo is the combining form.

    A root can be classified as a prefix or suffix, but an entire word would not be a prefix or suffix. Pre- and post- are two examples of common prefixes, or roots that occur at the beginning of a word. -ous is an example of a suffix (as in gelatinous, porous, etc). Suffixes are those that occur at the end of words.
  4. by   Daytonite
    technically, a suffix is a syllable (one sound) added to the end of a word to change its meaning or give it grammatical function. a prefix is just the opposite. a prefix can be one or more syllables added to the beginning of a word to change it's meaning. prefixes and suffixes never stand alone. either one or both will be attached to a word root. so if you have a medical term, you should be able to cleave it into at least two parts. not knowing anything else you have a 50/50 chance of picking (1) the combining form (word root), and (2) the prefix or suffix. after a while you will notice that most suffixes and prefixes are pretty recognizable. if you have a copy of taber's cyclopedic medical dictionary you will find a listing of prefixes, suffixes and combining forms in the back appendix. in these listings, a prefix will always be written with a little dash behind it and a suffix will have a dash written in front of it.

    a combining vowel is a vowel that is usually part of the combining form. this vowel is either retained or dropped off when the combining form (word root) is merged with another combining form (word root) or suffix that often begins with a vowel itself. however, the decision to retain or drop the vowel is made to make the word grammatically correct and pronounceable.
  5. by   MB37
    Do you have a med term book? We were required to buy one and are tested periodically throughout Fundamentals this semester (no actual med term class). We use Mastering Healthcare Terminology by Betsy Shiland, and it defines all the parts of words in chapter 1, then readdresses them in each topical chapter. My entire class passed the first test, so it must be a decent text. From chapter 1, prefixes (they are added in front of the root) include: ante-, anti-, dys-, endo-, ex-, hyper-, hypo-,... and suffixes include -al, -ectomy, -graphy, -itis, -logy, -scopy, -y. You don't always have both a prefix and a suffix, but you need at least one. The root of the word is in between the prefix and suffix, and you use its "combining form" - arthr/o, cardi/o, colon/o, enter/o, etc. The vowel after the "/" is the combining vowel. Hope that helps, and you may want to invest in another book if you're really not getting it.
  6. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from tiffany311
    please explain this to me. I had tow pop quizes and still can't point this out? What is wrong with me?

    how do you know when a word is a suffix or a prefix?

    I am lost in the medical terminology.

    A prefix comes before the root. Think of a preemie, a baby born too soon.

    A su f fix come a f ter the root. The extra "f" is your clue.
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Sep 25, '07

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