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.
Inter as prefix:
The inter-agency competition was held last Tuesday.
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.
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.
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.