Inter vs. intra – which form is correct?

Inter or intra? Which one is correct? In this article we will look closely at these prefixes trying to find the answer to this question so that you do not have to search the whole internet… or could it be intranet?

Inter vs. intra Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Inter vs. intra – which one is correct?

The answer is that both inter and intra are correct! However, because they look and sound so similar to one another, they are often confused. To make sure you understand the difference between these two, let’s begin with the definitions.

Inter – the meaning

Inter- is a prefix used to indicate something that is happening between or among groups.

Nowadays, the most common and widespread use of the prefix inter- is when referring to the Internet, an example from our introduction, which is the huge system of computer network connecting other networks and computers around the world, that allows people to share information and communicate with each other.

Intra – the meaning

Intra is used when referring to something “within” the same group or place.

A common example of the usage of prefix intra- is the antonym of the above mentioned word internet – intranet, which is a computer network that works like the internet but is private to an organization (a company, university etc).

The following section gives you some detailed explanation on the difference between inter and intra and some useful tips for remembering how to tell one from another.

Inter vs. intra – what is the difference?

Now that you know the meaning of the two prefixes, it should be easier for you to remember the difference. Here is a good tip for you: inter involves at least two people or items, while intra goes within one person of thing.

Another detail that could be helpful in remembering the difference between inter and intra is that they are often each other’s antonyms. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word, so very often, to get the opposite of an inter- word you have to make it intra- or vice versa.

Consider the following examples:

Intermural vs. intramural
Intergalactic vs. intragalactic
International vs. intranational
Interstate vs. intrastate

You can find some more examples of inter- and intra- in the following section.

Inter vs. intra – more examples from the literature and press

A closely related problem that is also of concern to writers of science fiction is rapid interstellar or intergalactic travel.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: And Other Essays

Listeria is what we microbiologists call an intracellular pathogen.

Salon, Sep 8, 2022

“It is very similar to corporations’ desires to launch intranets as competition to the open internet system in the 1990s.”

“New York Times”, Feb 14, 2019

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.