Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Hello everyone,

I love it when my son asks me how to spell something.  It really makes my day, because we usually end up with more questions than we began with.  How great is that?

Today's exploration involves <magnificent>  and the related <magnify> and we have become very curious about the <fic> and the <fy> elements.  (OK, my son is not quite as excited about this puzzle as I am. But he is mildly interested.) I am interested in thinking about whether both of these elements are bases, from the Latin, facere for "to make." I started to lean toward them being bases, because I can connect it to a Latin word and therefore ascribe to it a meaning. If my research suggests that it is only used after other bases, such as <magn>, and never alone with it's own prefixes and suffixes, then I begin to think they have become affixing elements in English.  

It was easy to think of words that end with <fy> and <-ification> but I also am developing a list of words ending in <fic>, such as <pacific>, <beatific>, <horrific>, and <prolific> all with connections to the Latin facere.  
(And now, of course, <prolific> raises other questions about the contraction of <pro-oles> but that will have to wait for another day.)

If there is a section of my magnificent Real Spelling Tool Box 2 that I should consult as part of my investigation, I would love to have someone point me in the right direction. I hope to return to this post when I have completed more research, but I welcome any comments in the meantime.  

Make it a great day,


P.S. Would someone please remind me if Latin words should be in italics or in angle brackets? Thanks.


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