Language Arts St Robert’s Newtown
Every word is a base. Some are free-standing, some are bound. On that base you can either add morphemes (alterable base), or you can’t (unalterable base).
Here are some free-standing alterable bases with their bases altered:
play playful played playing replaying
help helpful helped helping unhelpful
do undo redo
tie tied untie
Here are some free-standing unalterable bases
Some bases are freestanding, some are not. Here are some bound bases (all bound bases are alterable):
-ject- inject subject adjective
-struct- instruct obstruct construct
-tract- subtract abstract tractor
-spect- inspect spectacle aspect
Alterable, unalterable, free or bound, a word contains one base, bare minimum. It sometimes contains more than one base, but more about that in compounds.
With practice, you can learn to identify the base in any word. Fortunately, you are not on your own. Various etymological dictionaries will help you isolate and teach bases. Once you get used to doing it, it becomes very hard to suppress this knowledge when studying words.
The Language Arts approach encourages word study that covers bases, their meanings, their families, and the way their spellings are altered when attaching affixes.
Bases Exercise 1
Point out the base in the following words: following, rerun, mislead, inflame, unhappy, doing, return, nonsense, car, interview. Are they free or bound?
Bases Exercise 2
Point out the bases in the following words: inject, obstruct, consider, science. Are they free or bound? You may want to use a dictionary for these.