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Learn the Difference Between “Intra” and “Inter”

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“Intra” and “inter” are pronounced almost identically, so surely they have the same meanings, right? Well, no, they don’t. Below, you’ll find a simple breakdown of the differences between these two prefixes, plus examples of words that include them.

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“Intra” vs. “Inter”: Quick Summary

Both “intra-” and “inter-” are prefixes. “Intra-” means “within,” whereas “inter-” means “between.” For example, the word intrapersonal is a word that refers to “one’s own thoughts and feelings.” On the other hand, interpersonal means “having to do with relations or communications between people.”

  • Perhaps not surprisingly, working on my intrapersonal affairs greatly enhanced my interpersonal skills.

Trust us, you aren’t alone in your confusion when it comes to “intra-” and “inter-. It’s a topic that gets searched for frequently. We’ll make it incredibly easy for you to understand the difference between “intra-” and “inter-” by elaborating on their definitions and reviewing example words and sentences to show you exactly how to use them.

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Keep reading to understand the difference between "intra-" and "inter-."

“Intra” and “Inter” are Prefixes

The first thing you have to know about “intra-” and “inter-” is that they are both prefixes with Latin origins. Technically speaking, a prefix is a type of affix, which involves groups of letters added to words to change their meaning or form (a suffix is another type of affix).

Prefixes are added to the beginning of a word. For example, “un-” and “re-” mean “not” and “again,” respectively. Therefore, unhappy means “not happy” and redo means “to do again.”

There are many prefixes. A few more examples include:



















“Intra” Meaning

“Intra-” means “within.” It’s added to the beginning of a word to modify its meaning to indicate that something is happening inside that one thing.

For instance, intravenous means “taking place inside a vein.” This term is typically used to refer to medication that is administered directly into a vein.

Every month, I’m given intravenous medication to help with my arthritis.

“Intra” Examples

Below, you’ll find a list of more words that start with “intra-,” along with their definitions and example sentences.


Intracellular is defined as “located or occurring inside a cell or cells.”

My thesis was about how certain viruses target specific intracellular structures to replicate and spread.

Intramural means “operating within a single institution, especially a school or college.”

My school’s intramural sports program provides a great opportunity for kids to socialize and stay active.

Intramuscular means “taking place within or administered into a muscle.”

I was surprised when the intramuscular injection didn’t hurt at all.

Intranational means “occurring or being within a nation.”

As a company, we wanted to expand beyond our usual intranational services.

Intrapersonal refers to the “thoughts, feelings, and awareness occurring within the individual mind.”

I read many books to help me improve my intrapersonal abilities and eventually became class president.

“Inter” Meaning

“Inter-” means “between.” So, when “inter-” is used as a prefix, it changes the word to mean something “happening or occurring among two or more people or things.” For example, consider the word international, which is defined as “happening, existing, or carried on between two or more nations.”

I’m an international traveler and have visited more than 50 countries.

“Inter-” Examples

Here is a list of additional examples of words that start with this prefix:


Interaction refers to the act of mutually or reciprocally communicating with or influencing someone or something.

My first interaction with the new supervisor was fantastic; he seems like a pleasant person to work with.

Intercultural means “involving or relating to two or more cultures.”

I loved growing up in an intercultural neighborhood, especially because I got to try dishes from around the world.

Interdependent is defined as “a state in which two or more people or things rely on each other.”

My best friend and I grew to be interdependent during high school, so going to different colleges was hard on us.

Interdisciplinary means “involving more than one branch of knowledge.”

I’ve always been interested in learning as much as I can. Luckily, the school I’m attending offers an interdisciplinary program that allows me to combine my various interests.

Interstate means “happening or carried on between states.”

When we went on a road trip, we got to enjoy the scenic views along some of the interstate highways.

Using “Intra” and “Inter” Correctly

Remembering that “intra-” means “within” and “inter-” means “between” seems simple enough, but because they sound so similar, it can be easy to confuse them, especially if you’re an English language learner. Practice and familiarizing yourself with the pronunciation of these suffixes will help you learn how to use them correctly.

LanguageTool—an advanced writing assistant—is used by millions internationally to improve their writing. On top of supporting over thirty languages, it also helps you improve your fluency in English by recommending alternative phrases depending on the type of content you’re writing.

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