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Inter vs. Intra

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Prefixes and suffixes are a great component of grammar that allows new words to be created, in order to express certain messages more accurately. But some of them are really similar and it is sometimes hard to identify which one to use depending on the context.

"Inter-" and "Intra-" are two of the most similar prefixes regarding their spelling, and as a result they are often confused. Let's see what each prefix refers to and what meaning it can give to the word attached, so that you always use them correctly.

Inter vs. Intra

"Inter-" is an English prefix that, generally attached to nouns, refers to relations or elements among groups. Actually, "inter-" can easily be associated to "between" or "among" when referring to groups.

"Intra-" is also an English prefix that is added before a noun, but its meaning is slightly different than "inter-". "Intra" is used to relations or elements that happen or exist "inside" or "within" a group.

When do we use "inter-"?

You can use "inter-" before of a noun in several situations, but it should always refer to something "between" groups:

Example 1: This is an international matter. - "inter-" is used to refer to a problem between more countries, between more groups

Example 2: Internet can be accessed from anywhere around the world. - "inter-" is used to refer to a network between several groups, regions and countries.

When do we use "intra-"?

"Intra-" can be used, again, before a noun, but it will always have the meaning of "within", referring to things "inside" a group or a community.

Example 1: She was administrated an intravenous injection. - "intra-" refers to the treatment administrated inside a vein.

Example 2: The organization set a new password for their intranet. - "intra-" is used because it refers to a network that connects and works only within the members of an organization, only inside that group.


Both "inter-" and "intra-" are frequently used prefixes that refer to the type of relation between or inside a group, but their meaning is different and should be understood for a proper use. The best way to remember which one to choose is through the words "intranet" and "internet". The internet is accessible worldwide, connecting people from more groups, just as the prefix "inter-" refers to relations between more groups. Intranet is usually used in a company/organization and only its members can access it, just as the prefix "intra-" only refers to relations connecting members inside one group.

Inter vs. Intra

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1 Comment
  • franchestia_f
    The easiest way for me to remember when to use the two comes from the spelling: intEr (E=everyone) and intrA (A= alone or a single item).
    LikeReply 62 years ago


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