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Magoosh Comics: Prefixes in TOEFL Vocabulary, Part 4

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

prefix— a part at the beginning of the word that has a special meaning– is often the key to the meaning of a whole TOEFL vocabulary word. Today, we’ll look at yet another prefix that’s important on the TOEFL.

This is the fourth Magoosh post on prefixes in TOEFL Vocabulary. Like our previous lessons, this post will give the definition of a prefix, a comic strip to help you remember the prefix, and examples of the prefix as it might appear on the TOEFL. Today’s prefix is co-.

The meaning of co- in TOEFL vocabulary

Co- appears at the beginning of words related to doing things together. In the comic strip below, you’ll see this prefix used to describe helicopter pilots who fly together and instructors who cooperate (another co– word!) with each other to teach a shared group of students.

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Target Score Unit 4 Prefix Activity_Page_13

Examples of co- in TOEFL vocabulary

  • A lecture in a TOEFL Integrated Writing Task

    The reading defines coevolution accurately, in the sense that coevolution really does involve two different life forms influencing each others’ evolution over time. But the passage is a little inaccurate in its claim that coevolution always helps both species as they evolve together. Actually, sometimes this kind of parallel, connected… evolving… can help one species while hurting another.

  • A TOEFL lecture from a business class

    So banks don’t want to take on liability for a loan that might not be repaid. But at the same time, these lenders want to have as many– to profit from as many customers as possible. So this where the idea of co-signing comes in. The bank will lend money to a borrower with no credit history– or even bad credit history. And a person who seems more reliable– has a better credit track record– will promise to repay the loan if the unreliable borrower can’t… or uh– doesn’t– repay.

  • A TOEFL Listening discussion in an economics class

    Excuse me, Professor Johnson, but doesn’t capitalism include some business models that are a little bit like communism? Like, what about– er– co-ops? Those grocery stores that are owned by the workers and the customers?

The takeaway

Notice that co- can appear in many different structures. Between the Magoosh Comic and the TOEFL-like examples, you can see this prefix as a noun and a verb. Co– also has the potential to be part of adjectives, adverbs, or other parts of speech. Also observe that co- sometimes is followed by a hyphen— a dash that separates it form its root word. Hyphenation is more common with this TOEFL prefix than with most others.


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