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Welcome to issue #45  of  Words Matter , our bi-weekly newsletter .  Please feel free to share with a friend! 
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A Helpful Spelling Tip

One of the most prolific morphemes in English is the root fer, from Latin that means carry, bear, or bring.

A rock that bears water is an aquifer.  A tree that bears cones is a conifer.  There are element-bearing ores called argentifers (Ag, silver), calcifers (Ca, calcium), cuprifers (Cu, copper), ferrifers (Fe, iron), aurifers (Au, gold), and so on.

Adding the adjective suffix -ous provides many more words.  As a kid I loved poking about the fossiliferous shale behind my grandparents' house, looking for trilobites.  

At dusk, we would run among the floriferous peonies and lilacs, catching luminiferous fireflies, and later we'd go to sleep to the somniferous rhythm of distant katydids and croaking frogs.

Many familiar prefixes attach to the root fer to generate commonly used English verbs.  When we confer, we bring ourselves together to exchange viewpoints, about which we might differ (or be carried in separate directions). 

Trucks, trains, and moving vans transfer items across the country.  When you prefer something, you actually bring it out to the front or ahead of everything else.

By the way, do you ever wonder how to spell the past tense or the -ing forms of prefer or refer?  Or of differ or suffer?   There's a helpful way to know whether to double the final r or not.  If the stress (or accent) is on the syllable with the fer root, do the doubling.

Unstressed FER Syllable
Stressed FER Syllable
(No doubling of r) (Doubling of r)
díffer  >   differed, differing, difference
confér  >   conférred, conférring
óffer   >   offered, offering
defér   >   deférred, deférring
súffer >   suffered, suffering
prefér  >   preférred, preférring

infér    >   inférred, inférring

refér    >   reférred, reférring

Notice where the stress (or accented syllable) is with these words, so that the r of the root fer is not doubled:
cónference     déference     préference     ínference     réference    refereé
Have a splendiferous rest of your day!
  -- R.D. "Doc" Larrick

Enjoy this brief student video that comes directly from WordBuildonLine Elements Level 1. 

The root FER
The root FER

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