English Root Words Recap: “Ven” and the Variants of “Ten”

by Brett on October 2, 2011

In our ongoing educational etymology work on English word origins, this past week we learned that the spelling variants of the root word ten, “hold,” are tin, tain, and tent.  We also learned that the prolific English root words ven and vent mean “come.”   In order to continue your mind retaining that the root word ten and its variants mean “hold,” let’s maintain the retention of those roots by conveniently reviewing those word roots now in this handy e-venue.  Some of the words I’ll reinforce in this English vocabulary root words blog are retain, retention, maintain, maintenance, contain, continuous, continual, content, convene, convention, intervene, intervention, venue, and invention.

“Ten” Variants → tin, tain, tent

sample words: retain, retention, maintain, maintenance, container, content, continuous, continual

Many English root words have spelling variants but retain the same meaning.  For example, the variants of the root word ten, which means “hold,” are tin, tain, and tent, which also mean “hold.”   When you retain information in your memory, you are able to “hold” it in;  retention, the noun form of retain, is that “holding” in of information.  When you maintain your car, you “hold” it in good working condition; this is known as maintenance, or the “holding” of something in good repair.  A container can “hold” a certain amount of content, or that which can be “held;” the larger the container, the more content that container can contain, or “hold.”  The words continual and continuous both indicate a “holding” on to a particular action.  But which one lets go of that activity first?  Continual action has periodic breaks; continuous action has no breaks.  So, a continual three-day rain will have intermittent break periods; during a continuous three-day rain, the rain will never cease.  You can remember this easily, for the word continual is alphabetically prior to continuous, and thus ceases its “holding” on first.

Ven → ‘Come’

sample words: convene, convention, intervene, intervention, venue, invention

Last week we also learned about the English root words ven + vent: ‘come.’   Let’s say that you have invented or “come” upon teleportation, the ability to instantaneously move from one place to another.  You would probably want to convene or “come” together with others to announce this incredible finding.  To do so, you would probably attend a convention, or a “coming” together of people.  At this venue, or place to which people “come,” you would discuss your incredible invention, or that which has been “come” upon for the very first time.  You may have some who would want to intervene, or “come” between you and your world-changing knowledge.  This intervention, or “coming” between, would most likely be from such businesses as car manufacturers, for their products would quickly become obsolescent as your form of transportation would be much more convenient, and certainly more green!

For additional information on the root word ven, check out this exhaustive list of the English vocabulary of the root word ven.

Questions of the week (to be answered next week):
See answers

  • What is a revenant, and what does it have to do with the root word ven?
  • In order to win the Olympic marathon, would a marathoner most likely have to put forth continuous or continual effort?

Questions from last week:

    • Q: Indicate the ff. words so that the prefix is correctly spelled: con- + agulate; con- + rupt; con- + dominium; con- + bative; and con- + lection.

A: Coagulate; corrupt; condominium, combative, and collection.

    • Q: What is the musical notation that contains the root word ten which indicates that a note should be played beyond its normal duration?

A: Sostenuto.

For more on word roots, refer to our archives»

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