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Inter vs. Intra

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Did you play any sports in college? Well, if you didn’t play on the school’s football or basketball team, you might have played intramural sports—or is it intermural? These two English prefixes are tricky because they sound pretty close to each other, but they actually have very different meanings.

In today’s post I want to clear up any confusion that you may have about these two prefixes, inter vs. intra, by outlining both of their definitions, showing you each word used in example sentences, and give you a few tips to remember their differences for the future.

Origin:

The word inter originated from Old French entre- or Latin inter ‘between, among’. The prefix intra originated from Latin intra which means ‘inside’.

Inter as prefix:

Inter can be used as a prefix in English language where it means between or among.

The inter-agency competition was held last Tuesday.

Inter as a prefix also means something done mutually or reciprocally.

An interactive session was held among all employees.

Intra as prefix:

The word intra is also used as a prefix in English language where it means on the inside or within. While inter- deals with open systems among groups, intra- deals with closed systems between a single group.

Our country is flourishing due to intrastate commerce.

If you played sports in college, you might have played intramural sports. These are athletic competitions between groups of a single school. Intramural sports are not interuniversity activities, i.e., between different schools; they are limited to one single, closed group.

Examples:

The Texas Intrastate Highway is much better than New York’s.

Although only lasting a few short months, Minor league baseball once had an Inter-American League with teams across the Americas.

The athletic conference that governs high school sporting activities is called the Inter-High School Athletic Association.

Inter or intra:

These are both prefixes, but intra vs. inter have near opposite meanings. Therefore, it’s important we use them correctly to avoid any confusion in our writing. Inter- means between or among groups. Intra- means on the inside or within. Whenever you are in doubt about which of these two to use remember these two tricks. An internetwork is a network that is open. Inter and open both have the letter “E” in them. An intranetwork is a network that is contained. Intra and Contained both have the letter “A” in them.

 

 

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"Inter vs. Intra." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/inter_vs._intra>.

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