Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inter-, Intra-



As a commissioner, I attended the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging last week. Among business items was an examination of the state formula used in Michigan to distribute federal money to be used for senior services in all 16 regions of the state.

The formula is called the Intrastate Funding Formula, but I heard several people refer to it as the Interstate Funding Formula. Since intra- is a prefix meaning within, and the formula is used only inside the State of Michigan, intrastate is correct, and interstate is wrong.

Inter- means between or among. Interstate commerce, for example, is the exchange of merchandise between states. There is an out-of-state aspect by necessity. On the other hand, intrastate commerce would be carried on within the boundaries of one state. An intranet exists with a single company and usually has limited access. The internet is an open network available to anyone anywhere in the world. Intramural sports are played by teams from the same school, but intermural sports find different schools competing against each other.

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