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To compare by showing the differences; a clear difference between two things.

Published on: Monday 20th November 2017



Contrast shares both its prefix and its stem with many other words:

contra – against, opposite

sta/stat – standing, setting up (Latin)


To show the contrast between two things in an exam, you need to explain clearly in what ways they are different, or opposites.


We see contra as a prefix in words such as:

contraception: a method of preventing pregnancy

  contra – against

     cept – taking hold

     tion – act, process, result


contraindication – a sign that shows a certain medicine, treatment or course of action should not be taken

contra – against

     indicate – to show, point out

     tion – act, process, result


contradict – to say the opposite to someone else, to disagree, to conflict with

contra – against

     dict – speaking


contrary – being opposite or opposed to, against

contra – opposite, against

     ary – to do with


Counter is an English version of the Latin prefix contra, so words such as counterterrorism, counteract and counterfeit are all linked too.


Sta/stat can be a tricky stem to spot in English words as it often changes its form:


stable – steady, firm

  sta – standing

     able – able to


constitution – a set of laws governing a state or organisation

  con – altogether, completely

     stit/stat – setting up

     tion – act, process, result


obstetrics – the science of giving birth

obstetrix – a midwife (Latin)

     ob – in front of

     stet/stat – standing

     ix – female


statue – a carved or cast figure of an animal or human

stat – standing


stationary – still, not moving

sta – standing

     tion – act, process, result

     ary – to do with, like