In two recent posts, we looked at a three common prefixes in TOEFL vocabulary: de-, dis-, and inter-. Of these three, inter- may be the hardest. This prefix appears in a lot of advanced vocabulary words. And it’s used in ways that don’t point to the meaning of a word very clearly, compared to easier prefixes like de- and dis-.
So to help you understand this prefix even better, I’m going to first show you a comic strip conversation where inter- is used in context. Read the comic strip and think carefully about what inter- really means. Review the two previous posts if need be.
Then go through the reading passage at the bottom of this post. That passage contains many inter- vocabulary words. Look at the vocabulary in bold closely. What do these words have in common? Why do they contain inter-? Can you guess the meaning of unfamiliar words in bold, based on context and on their prefix itslef? For even greater understanding, check your guesses with a dictionary.
I was preparing for a job interview, and I used some interactive software that made it seem like I was talking to someone who might hire me for a new job. The technology was interesting, but it didn’t really help me with interpersonal skills. It always felt like I was just talking to a machine. And then when I went to the real interview, it was completely different from the computer experience! The practice interview on the computer was very short—just a few minutes. And intermittently the interview experience would stop and the computer screen would show me advice on what to say next.
The real job interview couldn’t be interrupted in that way. It was also much longer than a few minutes. This job interview lasted almost three hours! I had to talk to more than one person too. I was questioned by an interdepartmental panel of managers. The interview process was so long it had an intermission where we took a break for donuts and coffee. And the conversation was more disorganized than I imagined, with many different managers interjecting their questions.