Prefixes and Suffixes

Prefixes and Suffixes

Prefixes and suffixes are letters that are added to either the beginning or the end of a word.

In English we can add prefixes and suffixes to a basic word (known as the root word) in order to make a different word.

A PREFIX goes at the beginning of the word and changes its meaning, quite often to the complete opposite.
For example: Happy – Unhappy.

A SUFFIX is added to the end of a word and changes it from one part of speech to another.
For example: Differ – Difference. The verb ‘Differ’ becomes a noun.

Here is a list of the most commonly used PREFIXES in the English language. Please note: This is not a list of ALL prefixes, there are many more. You can find a more comprehensive list at Reading First from Virginia eLibrary.

ante before Room Anteroom
anti against Freeze Anti-freeze
auto does by itself Mobile Automobile
cyber computing Space Cyberspace
de reverse Frost De-frost
e electronic Mail Email
ex out / away from Communicate Ex-communicate
im / in / il opposite Possible / Correct Impossible / Incorrect
inter between Act Interact
mid middle Day Midday
mis do wrongly Conduct Misconduct
multi many Cultural Multicultural
non not Sense Nonsense
over too much Paid Overpaid
pre before School Pre-school
pro go forward Active Pro-active
re again Do Re-do
semi half Detached Semi-detached
sub under Marine Submarine
super bigger than Market Supermarket
trans across Atlantic Transatlantic
un opposite Happy Unhappy

When a SUFFIX is added to the end of a word it changes the word from one class (part of speech) to another.
For example: Like – Like-able. The verb ‘Like’ becomes an adjective.

able can do Like verb Likeable adjective
al pertaining to Accident noun Accidental adjective
ary connected with Imagine verb Imaginary adjective
ate to do / make Alien noun Alienate verb
en to do / make Weak adjective Weaken verb
er more than Small adjective Smaller comparative
er/or person who does Act verb Actor person
est the most Long adjective Longest superlative
ful to be full of Use noun / verb Useful adjective
ility able to be Possible adjective Possibility noun
ish being like Child noun Childish adjective
ize to become Idol noun Idolize verb
less without Taste noun Tasteless adjective
logy the study of Zoo noun Zoology noun
ly to be like Clear noun Clearly adverb
ment a process Employ verb Employmnt noun
ness a condition Sad adjective Sadness noun
ous to be full of Caution noun Cautious adjective
ion action / process Hibernate verb Hibernation noun


Related Content

Prefixes and Suffixes © Andy Gillett, 2015. Using English for Academic Purposes.
Prefixes and Suffixes – R.M.I University. Study and Learning Center.
Useful Prefixes and Suffixes – Medical Terminology.

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