Prefixes Over and Under: Too Much and Not Enough

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

These eggs have been cooked too long. They are overcooked.

Attaching prefixes to words can help you express yourself more directly and concisely. For example, by adding the word “over” before certain words, you communicate that something is excessive. In other words, “too much.”

Let’s look at some adjectives:
  • Overconfident = excessively or unreasonably confident
  • Overpaid = paid too highly
  • Overweight = too much weight
  • Overcrowded = too many people

Now some verbs:
  • Oversleep = sleep too much
  • Overeat =  eat too much
  • Overact = act a role in an exaggerated way
  • Overdress = dress too formally

The opposite is expressed by adding the prefix “under” (meaning “not enough”) to certain words:
  • Underpaid = not paid enough
  • Undercooked = not cooked enough
  • Underweight = doesn’t weigh enough
  • Undernourished = having insufficient food for good health 

There are lists of words that have the prefixes over and under. Try to learn some of them for increased fluency and greater versatility. I prefer that you know "too much" instead of "not enough."

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