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Suffixes and Prefixes - Definition, Meaning, Examples, List, Rules, Words - Studywindows - A Simple Educational Blog for Children

Suffixes and Prefixes – Definition, Meaning, Examples, List, Rules, Words

suffixes and prefixes rules words examples titles

Suffixes and Prefixes are described along with the definition, meaning, examples, list, rules, uses, etc. All the concepts will be cleared in this session. There are an ever-increasing number of words in the English language. In addition to enhancing your vocabulary, learning new words can be overwhelming. However, if you know English prefixes and suffixes, you will learn many new words and gain a greater understanding of language.

It’s like learning a code when you master common prefixes and suffixes. Having cracked the code, you can not only spell words more accurately, but also recognize and perhaps even define unfamiliar words as well. Let’s explore Suffixes and Prefixes!

Suffixes and Prefixes

Let’s try to understand the basics of suffix and prefixes with examples.

Suffix and Prefix Basics

The English vocabulary is vast! We all know that, don’t we? But without an extensive stock of vocabulary, how can you improve your skills with the language? Well, expanding your vocabulary is not an easy task; you need to read a lot before your stock of words will reach a certain level.

  • But what if you get some tricks to not only effectively use the language but also expand your vocabulary rapidly?
  • Sounds interesting?
what suffixes and prefixes rule words examples
What suffixes and prefixes rule words examples

Well, this is exactly what you can do with suffix and prefix. So what are they exactly, and how do they function?

The Function of Suffix and Prefix

This is exactly what this post is all about. Thanks to the nature of the English language, just adding two letters before or after a particular word can change the meaning of the original word and create a new word altogether. These extra letters that you can add before or after any particular words are called suffix and prefix. But can you add these letters for every word in the English language?

In this post, we are going to find out all these answers regarding suffix and prefix. Read on as we talk about the definition, rules, and examples of suffix and prefix and how you can use them to expand your vocabulary. So without any further ado, let’s get started.

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What is The Definition Of Suffix And Prefix?

Well, before we move on to the definition of suffix and prefix, you need to understand where they occur in a word? Usually, the suffix and prefix will be added as per the root of every word. Now, the question arises what a root of a word is?

Well, to put it simply, a root of a word is nothing but the shortest base form of a word. For example, if we take the word ‘Video’, the root of the word is ‘vid’. The suffix and prefix will be added to the root of the word. This is how the meaning of the word will be determined after the change.

Suffix and Prefix with Examples

Let’s try to understand suffix and prefix with examples!

what suffixes and prefixes words examples
What suffixes and prefixes words examples

Let’s know about word formation before suffix and prefix.

Define Word Formation

A derivation and composition process results in words in a language. This is known as Word Formation.

Define Suffix: What is Suffix?

Suffixes form new words by adding a prefix to a root word, except they are added at the end of the root word. By adding a suffix to the root word, one can change the meaning of that word slightly, but only a little, not opposite or negative as prefixes do, instead, one can change the class of the word, as in making a verb an adjective. 

Suffix refers to the group of letters that sits after the word and alters the meaning or qualifies the meaning of the original word. Like for example, ‘able’ is a suffix that can be used with the word ‘comfort’, and together they make ‘comfortable’, which qualifies the meaning of the original word.

So, comfort + able = comfortable.

Hence, ‘able’ is a suffix here.

Define Prefix: What is Prefix?

A prefix is a word that is added to the beginning of a root for the formation of a new word. There is no meaning to a prefix word on its own, but when added to a root word it changes its meaning. Prefixes make words negative, indicate opinions, or show repetition.

Prefix denotes the group of letters that sits before a word based on the root and alters or qualifies the meaning of the original word. For example, ‘de’ is a prefix that can be used with the word ‘code’, and together they form the opposite of the original word ‘decode’.

In case of uncomfortable, we see that un + comfortable = uncomfortable.

Here, ‘un’ is a prefix. Are you still not clear about the concept? Let’s take a look at some other examples.

Prefix Examples

Prefix examples are as follows,

  • Non, un, im, in, il, ir = not, opposite = Nonsense, invalid, unhappy, unchanged.
  • Re- = again = redo, replay, revisit.
  • Mis = wrongly, not = misunderstand, misguide.
  • De = reverse, remove = Deconstruct, destruct, detonate.
  • Co, com, con = with, together = Compute, construct, contrive.
  • Dis, dif, di = separation, away = Disbelief, Disown, Disorder, dissect.

Suffix Examples

Suffix examples are as follows,

  • Er, or = showing comparison = Donner, teacher, cheater.
  • Able, Ible = capable = Respectable, Formidable, Credible.
  • D, ed = forming the past tense = Respected, Cheated, Fired, Aggravated.
  • Ing = continuous tense = Running, Eating, Fighting, Working.
  • Ment = State of result = Disappointment, Appointment.
  • Ive = having the quality = Decisive, Creative, Divisive.

Check a NICE VIDEO from Shaw English Online,

Importance of Prefix & Suffix

You will be able to get through the Verbal Ability section of Competitive exams with ease if you are familiar with the usage of prefixes and suffixes in English. The English section of most government exams is considered a common and important part of the exam. To master the English section one needs to have a good grasp of English vocabulary and word formation. 

It aims therefore to provide knowledge on the formation of words in the English language by using examples to illustrate how prefixes and suffixes work. Additionally, you will be able to download the list of prefixes and suffixes for your own reference. 

Basic Rules for Suffix and Prefix

Always remember that neither suffix nor prefix can be used with every word. So before you use them, you need to keep in mind certain aspects. Below, I am listing them for your better understanding.

Suffix Rules

Rule#1: While using a suffix, you need to understand that sometimes they can have multiple meanings.

  • For example, the suffix ‘er’. Sitting after the word, it can refer to the person who does the activity.
  • Like ‘a dancer, a singer’. Sometimes, they can help establish a comparison as well, like ‘ faster, weaker, lower’.

Rule#2: When the suffix is used, sometimes, it can change the spelling of the word.

  • For example, when the ‘ing’ suffix is used, the spelling of the word is bound to be changed.
  • Like for ‘running. Swimming, fighting’. Another similar example can be ‘iness’ which is often applicable for words ending with ‘y’. In that case, ‘y’ is replaced by ‘I’.

Suffixes are also similar in meaning to many prefixes. In like manner with the suffix, ‘er’ indicates the action performed by a person when added to a word such as Teachers, gardeners, performers, etc. Comparative adjectives and adverbs are also modified by adding the suffix ‘er’. Fast is shortened to faster and soon becomes sooner, etc.

The spelling of the base word can change when a suffix is added. In general, these are the base words ending in y or e. For example, happy becomes happier, costly becomes costlier with the suffix ‘er’, manage become managing, make become making with the suffix ‘ing’.

Prefix Rules

Rule#1: Many prefixes also mean the same. Like for example, un-, in-, and non mean the same as ‘mis’ and ‘ir’.

Rule#2: Sometimes using the prefix changes the spelling by introducing double letters. Like for example, ‘unnatural’ ‘unnoticeable’.

Rule#3: Using the prefix will never alter the root of the original word. This is very important. Like for example, if you take the word ‘Live’ and add the prefix ‘re’, it will be ‘relive’, keeping the root of the word intact.

A hyphen (-) should be used when adding a prefix to a common noun. Examples include Pro-American or Anti-Religion. 

After self- and ex-prefixes, hyphen must be used, for example, self-desirable, self-disciplined, ex-husband, ex-employee etc.

If you add a prefix, you should not change the spelling of the original word or root word; for example: undo, disappear, irrelevant, cooperation, irrational, etc.

When adding a prefix, letters can be repeated.

Prefixes that end with an ‘a’ are used as they are, like atypical, amoral, etc. With prefixes that end with a vowel, the base word will use it as it is.

Following point number 3 (don’t change spelling) is generally recommended even if it results in double consonants after adding the prefix.

The word Uncle begins with a prefix, but it does not have a prefix added to it.

There are many prefixes that can mean the same thing, such as ‘in’, ‘im’, ‘un’ all of these prefixes mean ‘opposite of’ or ‘not’.

List of Suffixes and Prefixes

Suffixes and prefixes lists are tabulated,

Prefixes List

dis-opposite of,disagree, disapprove

Suffixes List

-alRelated or actionannual, criminal
-ableable to,remarkable
-erin comparisonbigger,
-fulfull ofhouseful
-ibleto form adjectiveterrible
-ilyTo form adverbhappily,
-istPerson who actspsychologist
-lesswithout,Fearless, helpless
-nessto express the statehardness
-yto express conditionnoisy

Why Do You Need To Learn And Practice Suffix And Prefix?

As mentioned earlier as well, learning suffixes and prefixes will not only help you understand the grammatical elements better but will also help you expand your vocabulary too.

prefix and suffix
Prefix and suffix

Keep in mind that suffix and prefix can only be used for certain words. Hence, you need to practice regularly to master the concept. Plus, as for everything related to English grammar, the more you read, the more you will learn. The same can be said for suffix and prefix as well.

  • So, from now on, whenever you will read something in English, try to locate the words that are using suffixes or prefixes.
  • Firstly, it will help you understand the usage better and refer to the points I have mentioned above about using them.
  • Apart from that, you can also note down the words in a copy. This can be a great practice to improve your vocabulary and learn new words.


So, what else would you like to know about suffix and prefix? Should you have any further queries about them, then reach out to us, and we will surely get back to you to the best of our knowledge. Further Study you can refer below:

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