How to Make a Word Family: 6 Steps

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How to Make a Word Family: 6 Steps
How to Make a Word Family: 6 Steps

The richness of vocabulary is a precious asset in the cultural context of each one of us, but it also facilitates and improves the relationship with others. There are many ways to expand the lexicon that we know of a language, and one of them is to take advantage of word families, that is, to create different terms from a basic one. In this article you will find the steps to easily develop word families that will allow you not only to communicate better, but also to know and understand a word that you may not have known until now. If you don't remember well what a word family is, or you want to jog your memory, you should read the entire article. If you are already up to date, skip the next point.


Part 1 of 2: Knowing What a Word Family Is and Isn't

How to make a word family 1
How to make a word family 1

Step 1. Learn what a word family is

A word family, also called a lexical family, is a set of words that derive from a single primitive call and therefore share the same root. The primitive word does not come from any other. All the terms that make up this set are derived words. Below you can see various examples:

  • Primitive words. They are words that have not been formed from others and present a clear and main concept.

    As examples you can see: sun, hand, order, make, chaos, paper, salt, hunt, fruit, color, meat, eye, house, sky, weight … The part that does not vary and that contains the basic meaning is called root or Lexeme: sun, man-, order, h-, cao-, paper, salt, caz-, frut-, color, carn-, oj-, cas-, c-, pes-.

  • Derived words. From the previous ones, new words can be created that provide variations or nuances on the primitive, adding new parts (called morphemes). Notice that, in some cases, the primitive word is slightly modified.

    Some examples (not exhaustive) are: (sun) sunny, sunny, (hand) mitten, fondling, (order) ordering, (making) undo, (chaos) chaotic, (paper) stationery, paperwork, (salt) salty, salting, (hunt) hunt, (fruit) fruity, greengrocer, (color) color, bleach, (meat) carnivorous, carnal, (eye) peek, sideways, (house) home, farmhouse, (sky) heavenly, (weight) heavy, weighing.

  • Word family or lexical. Consequently, a family will be the set of words derived from a primitive.

    This is the case of color, for example, whose lexical family will be made up of coloring, bleaching, coloring, colorist, blush, bleaching, monocolor, tricolor, coloring … among others.


Step 2. Avoid getting confused

Sometimes it may seem that some word comes from another simply because all, or part of it, is written the same or very similar to the other. You should also take into account that words that are part of the same group of related concepts are not families, but associative or lexical fields. To make it clearer, some examples:

  • Similar words that do not form a lexical family. For example, a button: the word jump has a beginning "salt" that could make you think that it comes from salt (the seasoning). Nothing could be further from the truth since jumping, in fact, is a primitive word and from it terms such as jumping, grasshopper derive … In order not to be confused, always think if salt (seasoning) has something to do with jumping (the action of propelling and move up, forward, backward or down). If you do not see any link, it is that they are not family.

    Similar examples are pan-swamp, Sol-solo, col-color …

  • Associative or lexical fields. Imagine that they talk to you about a stretcher, operating room, consultation, doctor, orderly, scalpel, nurse, ambulance … You would immediately associate them with "hospital", right? True, but by no means are you talking about a family of words. What you have in front of you is an associative field (hospital) made up of different elements. In order not to be mistaken, you just have to think about whether the supposed primitive word (hospital) appears in each and every one of the different terms in the list you are analyzing. It is not, and therefore it is not a word family.

    This set is called the associative field or the lexical field, in this case, hospital.

  • Other endings. You will find many other words that have different endings but are not derived words and therefore do not form lexical families.

    This happens with conjugated verbs (bring: I bring, we will bring, brought, bringing…), the plurals (tree-trees; door-doors) and the feminine (boy-girl, duke-duchess).

Part 2 of 2: Form and Locate a Word Family

Step 1. Add a suffix to the primitive word

One way to create derived words belonging to the same lexical family is by adding a suffix (or more than one) to the primitive, keeping in mind that sometimes it must be modified a bit to fit the suffix. Remember that a suffix follows the word and there are many different types. Take a look at the following examples:

  • "mar: mari no, sea inero, sea intimate, sea ea, sea emoto … (Sea does not undergo changes); garden: garden ero, yard eria … (Garden loses accent); path: camin ar, truck ito, truck in view of … (Way loses the letter o, so that the lexeme is camin-); mouth: boc adored, buc to the, boz to the, boc to nothing, boc adillo … (Mouth modifies the lexeme in different ways to accept the corresponding suffix).

Step 2. Add a prefix to the primitive word

In this case, the prefix (or more than one) is prepended to the primitive word and the beginning of the word is rarely modified. You can see it in the following examples:

  • do: redo, desdo, againstdo; colour: multicolour, tricolour, monkeycolour; Sun: forSun, tourSun, removeSun; chair: TVchair; dad: comdad.

Step 3. Simultaneously add prefix and suffix to the primitive word

A large part of the derived words that are formed by prefix also have a suffix. As in the previous cases, the primitive word can undergo alterations to accept the morphemes. You have examples below:

  • colour: fromcolour action, descolour gone; bread: embread adored, embread adilla; yard: onyard adored, toyard ar; Sun: inSun action, toSun ar; Water: deswater ar, deswater and; mouth: desboc ar, desemboc ar; chair: onsill ar; tree: destree ar; plant: afterplant ar, replant ar; dad: tofather inar, emfather get on.

Step 4. Exercise your mind

It's probably not the most effective way, at least initially, to come up with broad word families, but if you try to make a list of terms from the same lexical family, you will exercise your mind and give it a significant intellectual boost. As you test it, you will find strategies to improve. Some basic tactics (you can create your own) are:

  • It uses diminutive, augmentative and superlative suffixes (chair, little lion, big head, beautiful…), derogatory (dog, bird, mob…), gentilic (Mexican, Lisbon, Albacete…) occupation (taxi driver, tennis player, guitarist…) and many more.
  • Use prefixes to establish opposites (counter-order, bosun…), to indicate evil (bastard, curse…), the inside (intravenous, intraocular…), the outside, (exoplanet, exosphere…).
  • Access websites that facilitate your work. Currently, if you want to go faster and get well complete lexical families, you can enter some reliable internet sites that provide you with a large number of derived words.


If you search for word families through books or the Internet, you will probably come up with a term that you did not know. Take the opportunity to know its definition in the dictionary. You will get rich

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