Difference Between Inter and Intra

By: | Updated: Jul-10, 2021

In English, there are two words that are similar to each other, namely “inter” and “intra”. These two words are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. For example, if you are talking about a “private conversation”, you can say “intra conversation”, but you cannot say “inter conversation”.

With that being said, what are the differences between “inter” and “intra”? In this article, we will discuss the differences between “inter” and “intra”, their meanings, their origins, and how they are used in the English language. So, let’s begin.

Summary Table:

Inter Intra
Is used to describe something that is between two things or a situation in which something is “between” two other things Is used to describe something that is “within” something else
Comes from the Latin word “inter”, which means “between” Comes from the Latin word “intra” or “intro”
Is pronounced like “int-er”  Is pronounced like “in-trah”
Is the synonym of “between,” “among,” “beyond,” and so on Is the synonym of “inner,” “inside,” “within,” and so on.

Definitions:

Difference Between Inter and Intra

Before we talk about the differences between “inter” and “intra”, let’s first define what we mean by “inter” and “intra.” To do this, we need to take a look back at the definitions and meanings of these two words.

What is “Inter”?

The word “inter” is an adjective that means “between.” It is used to describe the distance between two objects or people. “Inter” can also be used to describe a condition or relationship. For example, “He has an interracial marriage with his wife.” In this case, “inter” means that he married someone of another race. This word is usually placed before the noun it describes.

So, in a sense, “inter” generally means that something is located between two other things. In case of “interracial marriage”, the husband is married to a woman of another race. This means that the marriage is in between two different races. Another example, in the case of “interstate,” it also means that something is located between two other things. In this case, the word “interstate” means a highway that connects two different states.

What is “Intra”?

The word “intra” comes from Latin and it means “within.” It describes the condition of something that is located inside another thing. For example, “intrauterine device” means a birth control device that is placed inside the uterus.

Another example is “intrapersonal.” This means that something is located inside a person. For example, “intrapersonal conflicts” refers to the conflict between two people who are in each other’s mind.

When should I use “Inter” and when should I use “Intra”?

The words “inter” and “intra” are both used to describe the location of something. They both serve as prefixes. Prefix is a word that is placed before the word it describes. As mentioned above, “inter-” means between and “intra-” means within. So, in this case, both words are used to describe the location of something.

When they are connected to another word, the two prefixes can be used before a noun or after a noun. For example, “international affairs” means the affairs of countries that are located between two other countries. In this case, the “international” is used before the noun “affairs.”

On the other hand, “angry interjection” means an angry word that is used to express anger. In this case, the “interjection” is used as a noun after the adjective “angry.”

Inter Vs. Intra:

As you may know, there are several words that have a similar meaning. For example, “inter” and “intra” are both used to describe something that is between two things. However, there are also things and conditions that make them different when we use them in the English language. Now, let’s take a look at the differences between these two words.

1. The meaning

As mentioned above, “inter” is used to describe something that is between two things, or it means a situation in which something is “between” two other things. On the other hand, “intra” is used to describe something that is “within” something else.

For example, when we say “international”, it means the condition between our nation and other nations surrounding us. On the other hand, when we say “intravenous fluid”, it means the fluid that is “within” our body.

2. The origin

“Inter” comes from the Latin word “inter”, which means “between”. The word is used in Latin and Greek as well. In Latin, it was called “inter ipsum, trans ipsum, sub inter (sub-inter)”. In Greek, it was called “inter ipsum”.

The word “intra” comes from the Latin word “intra” or “intro”. It means “within” or “inward”. The word is also used in Latin and Greek. For example, the meaning of the word is like this: “In / Into / Into” or “Inside”. This makes it a little bit different from the word “inter”.

3. The common use

Both words are used in English to describe something that is between two other things. However, “inter” is used more often than “intra”. In addition, the word “inter” is used to describe something that can be both inside and outside of a place or an object. For example, “interior” means the part of a building that is inside the building. On the other hand, “intra” is only used to describe something that is inside an object or a place.

4. The pronunciation

The word “inter” is pronounced like “int-er”. However, the word “intra” is pronounced like “in-trah”. You can use the help of a voice recorder to practice your pronunciation skills. You can also listen to how the word is pronounced on the internet.

5. The synonyms

There are many synonyms of “inter.” For example, “between,” “among,” “beyond,” and so on. On the other hand, synonyms for “intra” include “inner,” “inside,” “within,” and so on.

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