Dr. Johanna Rubba
English Department
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
Updated 4/14/11

Morphology Exercises

Click here for the KEY.

1) For the following words, identify all roots (base words).

1-dragged

6-unassuming

2-deactivated

7-redness

3-impossible

8-auctioneers

4-thumbtack

9-cloudiness

5-hopefully

10-exceptionally

2) Isolate the affixes in each of these words and state whether each is prefix or suffix.

1-depose

5-action

2-readily

6-repackage

3-active

7-unchanged

4-behead

8-forcefully

3) Identify the component morpheme(s) of each word. How many morphemes does each word contain? If there are affixes, what are the meanings or functions of the affixes? For words with affixes, give examples of two other words that have the same affix.

a) stupidity f) paper k) misbehaved
b) unreliable g) sleeping l) management
c) classroom h) disinfectant m) painters
d) ugly i) magazine n) deformed
e) unfairly j) sandwich o) husbands

4) All of these words have the same suffix, -ify. This suffix creates verbs with the meaning "to give something the quality named by the root." There is something different about the roots of the second column. What is it? To find the answer, take off the suffix of all ten words and see what's left. Note: adding this suffix to a word that ends in 'e' requires removing the 'e.' Note that that makes no difference in the pronunciation.

Column 1 Column 2
classify specify
solidify identify
personify mollify
purify deify
falsify ratify

Some of these exercises are adapted or taken from The structure of English, by Thomas E. Murray, 1995.

4) ANALYZABILITY PROBLEM

A.  All of the following words end in 'er'.  Is 'er' a morpheme in all of the words? Is it the same morpheme in all of the words? Provide proof of your answers. To do a morphological proof, you must (1) point out which elements of the word you believe to be morphemes; (2) prove their morphemehood: first, give the meaning of each morpheme you find in the word and, second, for bound morphemes, give at least two more examples of words that contain the same bound morpheme with the same meaning.

Words:
taller, river, shorter, farmer, either, smarter, caller, painter, finger, sweeter, other, never, teacher, cover


B.
Do the same, using the following words, which all end in 'en' :
Words:
soften, broken, taken, even, whiten, often, eaten, sudden, widen, harden, open, deepen, oven

This exercise was adapted from Anatomy of English by Dorothy Sedley.