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Prefixes and Suffixes

  • A prefix is a group of letters placed before the root of a word.
  • For example, the word ‘unhappy’ consists of the prefix ‘un’ (which means ‘not’) combined with the root (or stem) word ‘happy’; the word ‘unhappy’ means ‘not happy’
  • A short list of prefixes include:

Combining Forms
  • When you are learning the different types of prefixes, it is important to remember that not every word containing these combinations is a prefix.
  • Sometimes, words have ‘combining forms’, which look very similar to prefixes but work differently.
  • As you know, a prefix is a letter or a group of letters that appears at the beginning of words, but it can also be removed from the base word, and the word would still be a word without it, even if the meaning changes.
  • For example, non- means not or without, this is used in words such as ‘nonsense’. The word ‘sense’ can be separated from the prefix and it would still be a word on its own, even if the meaning is different.
  • Combining forms are similar to prefixes, and are sometimes knows as ‘chameleon prefixes’. because they act like them and appear at the beginning of words like them, BUT the combining form is intrinsic to the word, meaning it is a part of the word and cannot be removed.
  • They are called ‘chameleons,’ because they change their spelling and physical form to suit the word they are attached to.
  • So, combining forms act as prefixes but are different, because the remaining letters cannot be separated to form an independent word.
  • Here are some examples of prefixes that are also ‘combining forms:’
  • A suffix is a group of letters after the root of a word.
  • For example, the word ‘flavorless’ consists of the root word ‘flavor’ combined with the suffix ‘less’ (which means ‘without’); the word ‘flavorless’ means ‘having no flavor’
  • A short list of suffixes includes:

Noun Suffixes

Verb Suffixes

Adjective Suffixes

Adverb Suffixes