Roots, Bases & Stems (& Inflectional Endings)

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a word’s innermost level of structure is its root (, with a base derived from that, a stem derived from a base, and an inflected word form derived from a stem by addition of an inflectional ending. But for a word with a simple structure, a single morpheme remaining after removing an inflection could be called alternatively a base, a root, or a stem. You distinguish as many of these three levels of structure as you need to, depending on the complexity of the word forms you’re dealing with.

The following articles do a succinct job of explaining the differences and overlaps. I tried to select articles that were not extremely jargon heavy or theoretical. I have some more scholarly articles if you are anyone else is interested. I hope these help:

 

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/finding-base-words-from-root-words.html

http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-root-and-base-word/ 

http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/message-details1.cfm?asklingid=200302651

 

 

 

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