Inter vs. Intra – How to Use Each Correctly
What’s the Difference Between Intra and Inter?
Intra and inter are both prefixes that are spelled in a similar way. However, they have different meanings, so you cannot confuse one for the other.
Intra means within.
- She participates in intramural sports, which means she plays against other teams from her same school.
Inter means between or amongst.
- The teacher likes for his students to interact, so he plans lots of group activities for the students to work together.
Now, let’s go over a few ways to use this word and phrase correctly.
Using Intra in a Sentence
When to use intra: Intra is a prefix that means within or inside.
- The doctors are giving her an intravenous drip, which administers the medicine directly into her veins.
- These animals engage in intraspecies competition. This means that they compete with other animals of the same species.
This prefix is most common in the field of medicine, biology, or the other sciences. Outside of that, the most common word is intramural, which refers to sports team that plays against others from the same school.
Using Inter in a Sentence
When to use inter: Inter is a prefix that means between or among. It can also be a verb that means to bury a dead body in a grave.
- International air travel is faster and easier than ever before. (prefix)
- It is important for parents to interact with their children from an early age to establish a strong familial bond. (prefix)
- Some religions require that bodies be interred rather than cremated. (verb)
- During the interment of the corpse, many people like to say a prayer, or stand and observe in silence. (verb)
Inter, as a prefix, appears in a more wide ranging variety of topics than intra. Therefore, people use it in casual conversation as well as academic and formal speech and writing.
Remembering Intra vs. Inter
One way to remember the difference between these prefixes is to think of some of the most common words containing them.
For example, Internet and interstate both use inter and refer to a network of information between people all over the world and highways that go between states, respectively.
Intranet and intramural both use intra and refer to an online network accessible only by those within the same company and sports teams within a single institution, respectively.
Alternatively, you can use the spelling to help you remember which is which.
Intra means within a single place or thing (as opposed to between two places or things). The article a only appears with singular nouns (one rather than two or more), and intra ends with the letter a.
Also, inter means between. Both of these words contain the letter e.
- As a long-time member of the Reds, Bruce played often in intra-league games at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, hitting .384 in 23 games with a 1.034 OPS. –New York Post
- Black did not even mention the intra-inflicted danger of walks to Marquez. “That’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. –Denver Post
- There’s also inter-textual interpretation, that is, reading the text in light of connections with non-biblical texts. –The Washington Post
- Other proposed items include funds for land for the new elementary and middle schools; an M&O reimbursement; district-wide maintenance projects; technology and equipment additions; facility upgrades and conversions; an outdoor pool; a road extension for inter-campus traffic mobility. –Houston Chronicle
Quiz: Inter vs. Intra
Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the correct word or phrase, either inter or intra, in the correct form.
- If you aren’t good enough to be on your university’s soccer team, you should try _______mural soccer instead. It’s more for fun than for competition.
- Surfing the __________net is a common hobby for many people nowadays.
- Video games are more ____________active than books and TV.
- When ____________ a body, it is important to make sure it is at least six feet underground.
- The nurse used an ___________venous needle to draw blood.
See answers below.
Should I use intra or inter? These are both prefixes that look and sound almost exactly alike. However, they have different meanings and therefore are not interchangeable.
- Intra means within or inside.
- Inter means between or among. When it occurs as a verb, it means to bury a corpse.
Understanding the meaning of these two prefixes, and memorizing some of the most common words that they each appear in, is a good way to keep them straight.