What is the difference between inter and intra?

When Sally told her friend that she would be traveling intrastate for a few days, her friend asked if she meant to say interstate. While Sally used the correct word, her friend’s question is not surprising because inter and intra are one of the most commonly confused prefixes. So, let us shed light on the difference between inter and intra.

When is inter used?

Inter is used when referring to something “between” two or more than two places or groups. For instance,

Students from all over the district came to our school to participate in the interschool competition. 

It means a competition was conducted between different schools.

When is intra used?

Intra is used to indicate something that is happening “within” the same group or place. For instance,

My classmates and I won against sixth grade in the intraschool competition.

Here, it means there was a competition between different classes of the same school.

In academic and technical writing, the words inter and intra must be used carefully so that the context of the sentence is intact. For instance,

Incorrect: We conducted a study on the how COVID-19 impacted the international movement of researchers in Japan.

Correct: We conducted a study on the how COVID-19 impacted the intranational movement of researchers in Japan.

So, all you have to do is keep their meanings in mind, and rest assured, you’ll forget the last time you were confused between inter and intra.

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