Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!


Here is the fruit of an investigation from two of my Real Spellers, with a question for you all to think about and share any thoughts you have.  Pete suggested this might be a useful thing to share here before we went straight to Old Grouch, our original plan.  See what you think:


Dear Real Spellers,

We are stuck with a word problem, with the base <hypo>. We are investigating the word <hypothesis>. We came up with a word sum like this--hypo+thesis-->hypothesis. We found that <hypo> comes from Greek and means “under”. (This helped us understand the word <hypothermia>).  We found that <thesis> means “place or put”. With our class, we tried to make sense of how that explains <hypothesis> -- “the idea that you place under your investigation”? We’re not so sure about this.

But then we stumbled upon the word <hypothetical>! We (Hailey and Ella) could not find a way to do a word sum for that word that fit with <hypo + thesis>.  So we tried to split up <thesis> and here are the possible word sums we came up with:

<thes + is>

<the + sis>

<th + esis>

So we looked up <-sis>, then <-esis> in Etymonline and we found out that <-esis> is a suffix.   We also found that <-etic> is a suffix, which explains <hypothetical>. But that meant <th> was the base, meaning is was a compound word like we first thought. Here is our matrix we made:

 hypo matrix


So…our questions are: Can there be a base <th>? We know that all English words have to have a vowel, but does every base? Or is the base <the>?



                                                       Your fellow Spellers,

                                                       Hailey and Ella


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