Resources › For Students and Parents 4 Great Reasons to Learn Greek and Latin Root Words Share Flipboard Email Print Matt Lincoln / Getty Images For Students and Parents Test Prep Test Prep Strategies Test Registration Study Skills SAT Test Prep ACT Test Prep GRE Test Prep LSAT Test Prep Certifications Homework Help Private School College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Kelly Roell Education Expert B.A., English, University of Michigan Kelly Roell is the author of "Ace the ACT. " She has a master's degree in secondary English education and has worked as a high school English teacher. our editorial process Kelly Roell Updated July 03, 2019 Greek and Latin roots aren't always the most fun to memorize, but doing so pays off in a very big way. When you know the roots behind the vocabulary that we use in everyday language right now, you have a step up on vocabulary comprehension that other people may not have. Not only will this help you in school across the board (science fields are known for their use Greek and Latin terminology), but knowing Greek and Latin roots will help you on major standardized tests like the PSAT, ACT, SAT and even the LSAT and GRE. Why spend time learning the origins of a word? Well, read below and you’ll see. 01 of 04 Know One Root, Know Many Words Knowing one Greek and Latin root means that you know many words associated with that root. Score one for efficiency. Example Root: theo- Definition: god. If you understand that any time you see the root, theo-, you're going to be dealing with "god" in some form, you'd know that words like theocracy, theology, atheist, polytheistic, and others all have something to do with a deity even if you've never seen or heard those words before. Knowing one root can multiply your vocabulary in an instant. 02 of 04 Know a Suffix, Know the Part of Speech Knowing one suffix, or the word ending can often give you the part of speech of a word, which can help you know how to use it in a sentence. Example Suffix: -ist Definition: a person who... A word that ends in -ist will usually be a noun and will refer to a person's job, ability, or tendencies. For instance, a cyclist is a person who cycles. A guitarist is a person who plays the guitar. A typist is a person who types. A somnambulist is a person who sleepwalks (som = sleep, ambul = walk, ist = a person who). 03 of 04 Know a Prefix, Know Part of the Definition Knowing the prefix, or the word beginning can help you understand part of the word, which is really helpful on a multiple choice vocabulary test. Example Root: a-, an- Definition: without, not Atypical means not typical or unusual. Amoral means without morals. Anaerobic means without air or oxygen. If you understand a prefix, you’ll have a better time guessing the definition of a word you may not have seen before. 04 of 04 Know Your Roots Because You Will Be Tested Every major standardized test requires you to understand more difficult vocabulary than you've seen or used before. No, you won’t have to write the definition of a word down or select a synonym from a list anymore, but you will have to know the complex vocabulary, anyway. Take, for instance, the word incongruous. Let's say it appears in the Redesigned PSAT Writing and Language Test. You have no idea what it means and it's in the question. Your correct answer relies on your vocabulary comprehension. If you remember that the Latin root “congruence” means “to come together” and the prefix in- negates what’s behind it, then you may get that incongruous means "not together or inharmonious." If you didn't know the root, you wouldn't even have a guess.