Math Lesson Plans: Ponere

Build math lesson plans to engage students and increase general English vocabulary.

The Latin root ponere gives us several English derivatives applicable to math study.

And there are several more related words to learn, too.

The pricipal parts of the Latin verb meaning "to put" or "to place" are:


The infinitive PONERE (to put, place) and the particple POSITUS (having been placed) are the root for many English words.

1. exponent: a symbol or number placed above and after another symbol or number to denote the power to which the latter is to be raised.

2. exponential: of or pertaining to exponents. If a Latin root provides ten English derivatives, that is exponential vocabulary building.

3. exponentiation: the raising of a number to a given power.

4. expound: to explain, set forth in detail.

5. posit: to place or set firmly, to assume the existence of; something that is posited, i.e. an assumption, a postulate.

6. positive: noting a quantity greater than zero; explicitly stated; possessing a real force.

7. position: condition with reference to place; situation, status; something that is posited.

8. transpose: to change positions, to cause to change positions. In algebra, to bring a term from one side of an equation to the other. In Math, to interchange rows and columns of a matrix.

"No physical quantity can continue to change exponentially forever. Your job is delaying forever."
--Gordon Moore, in a keynote address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco in 2003

9. proponent: a person who puts forward an idea or argues in favor it.

10. propose: to make an offer or suggestion, to put an idea forward.

11. proposition: the act of putting forward an idea for consideration.

12. compose: to put together, as in a piece of music or writing. See also composition.

13. suppose: to assume, consider, believe in. This is a compound of sub (under) and ponere (to place), so the true root means to place under or to substitute.

14. expose: to place out in the elements.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the English derivatives coming from the Latin roots PONERE and POSITUS.

Can you think of others? Will you students catch the idea and be able to recognize the meaning of words they've never seen before?

Put a few Latin roots into your math lesson plans! See More Latin root words for study.

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