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Vocabulary

Prefix and Suffix

Prefix and Suffix are not words in themselves but they do help in forming a word. Affix is a word used to describe prefix and suffix. Learning both of them is necessary if you wish to expand your English vocabulary. Generally, both of them appears either at the beginning of the word or at the end of the word. In this article, we will discuss the meaning of prefix and suffix in the English language and will go through some of the questions for practice.

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What are Prefix and Suffix?

prefix and suffix

We will start with the prefix. A prefix is generally a letter or a group of letters which appears at the beginning of any word. It can also change the original meaning of any word. Like organised and disorganised , here ”dis” is the prefix of the word organised. While suffix is also a letter or a group of letters, but it appears at the end of any word. It is used to change the word so that it can fit into a sentence grammatically. Like forget and forgetful ”ful” is the suffix here.

Collectively, if suffix and prefix are combined then it is known as affixes. Both prefix and suffix are not words in general, but the addition of either of them can make or break a word. When you use only suffix or prefix in a sentence than it would not make sense. To denote the incompletion of a word, we put a hyphen to denote them.

We need to study prefix and suffix so that we can be comfortable with the English language. Further, you develop an ability to easily recognize the word that you do not know of or you are not familiar with. It is already known that confidence with vocabulary goes a long way in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There are a few things you need to understand while learning prefixes and suffixes.

Important Points on Prefixes

  1. Different prefixes which are used in the English language can also have the same meaning. For example, in-, un-, not- all have the same meaning which is, ‘opposite of’ or ‘not’. Similarly, the prefix is- and mis- means incorrectly or wrongly.
  2. Repetition of letters is also possible. That is to say that when im- or unto word and if the word starts with ‘m’ and ‘n’ respectively then the double letters are also possible. For example immeasurable and unnoticeable.
  3. You need to be careful while seeing the words which starts with the prefix but do not contain the prefix. For example, the word uncle is a whole word. It does not have any prefix at the beginning.
  4. The addition of prefix should not change the spelling of the base word. For example, when you add ‘un’ to the word happy the spelling will be unhappy which is the same spelling as the base word.

Important Points on Suffixes

  1. Like prefixes, many suffixes have the same meaning. The best example is the use of the word ‘er’, which when you add to the end of any word, represents a person who is performing an action. Further, ‘er’ is also added at the end of adverbs and adjectives. This helps in the comparison of two things. Like slow will be slower and fast will be faster.
  2. For suffixes, the spelling of the base word can change when you add a suffix at the end. This is mostly true for the words ending with ‘y’ at the end. For example, when a suffix is added to the word crazy it will change into crazier or craziness.
  3. The above statement is also true for the base words which end with a silent ‘e’. For example, make and manage will change into making and managing when you add the suffix ‘ing’ to both the words. But not all words ending with ‘e’ will have a different spelling.

Practice Questions for You

Type I: Use prefix in the below words to find out its opposite word.

  1. Sense
  2. Happy
  3. Wrap
  4. Connect

Answer:

  1. Nonsense
  2. Unhappy
  3. Unwrap
  4. Disconnect

Type II: Use the prefix or suffix to the given word provided in the bracket in its appropriate form.

  1. You can’t just believe it. The plot was _____ (believable)
  2. I saw her just a few days ago, still, I miss her. It looks like she just _______ (appeared)
  3. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I must have ______ you. (Understood)

Answer:

  1. Unbelievable
  2. Disappeared
  3. Misunderstood
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