Words in Words

Words are an endlessly fascinating playground of letters. They help you (sometimes) keep from tripping up. There are fun shortcuts to make up or discover. Stationary means staying in one place. Stationery is writing material. Lucky that the letter kind of stationery had an E in it, just like letter does.

When I talk about the difference between there, their and they’re in class, I can point out that there is the opposite of the word here, conveniently stuck in there. Moving on, their is a word that shows ownership (their car was parked on the street) and has an ownership word in it–heir.  OK, not every example is brilliant, but it’s fun to look for one word hidden in a larger word. When one defines another, it’s even more interesting.

So there is an EAR in HEARD.


If you want your eyebrows to rise in surprise and wonder if that was intentional, there is a GRIN in GRIND and BRA in VIBRATE. And, of course, there is WANT in WANTON.

Snark lurks in words-in-words, too. There is MENTAL in FUNDAMENTALIST and RED in CREDIT and IRK in QUIRK and GIN in ENGINEER.

Some may just be a spelling tip. So there is VERY in EVERYTHING, TAG in HERITAGE, TIP in MULTIPLY and RATION in INSPIRATION.

Now that you know, you’ll see small words in bigger words and smile while you are reading. There is SIN in EASINESS, but it doesn’t mean you have to give it up.

Quinn McDonald has fun with words.


9 thoughts on “Words in Words

  1. I don’t know how many kids I’ve come across who learn to spell ‘another’ as a-not-her.

    The words I like most are the ones where the opposite is not used such as discombobulate . . . which is a lovely word as it rolls off the tongue and one of my favourites.

  2. Sometimes the way I jumpstart my brain into writing is take a (seemingly) random word, write it down on paper, and start writing down every single possible word I can make out of the letters in that word. It’s pretty amazing how often that takes me somewhere. It doesn’t work for me on a keyboard 😉

  3. Quinn, I loved this post–I am a wordie, too, but had never thought to look for words within words–how cool is that! Of course, that might slow down my reading a bit. It’s so lovely to find someone who loves words–I am surrounded with non-word-loving people, though they are lovely in so many other ways.

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