Prefixes and suffixes (Free PDF included)
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Prefixes and suffixes in English: what is it?
These are letters that attach to a basic word to transform it into a new word (it can be a noun, an adjective, a verb or an adverb). Prefixes go in front, and suffixes go behind that word.
The same word can have one or more translations depending on the prefix or suffix that is added to it, and there are many of them!
⚠ Prefixes and suffixes each have a meaning, for example:
- les préfixes dis-, il-, im-, ir- ont une valeur négatives, d’opposé: appear → disappear
- le préfixe un- signifie l’inverse: friendly → unfriendly
- le préfixe mis- signifie ‘de manière fausse’: understand → misunderstand
- le suffixe -ity a une valeur d’exagération: brutal → brutality
- le suffixe -wards implique la direction: back → backwards
and so on….
Here are the main English prefixes in a table.
|co-||co-worker, co-pilot, co-operation|
|de-||devalue, defrost, derail, demotivate|
|dis-||disagree, disappear, disintegrate, disapprove|
|em-, en-||embrace, encode, embed, enclose, engulf|
|ex-||ex-president, ex-boyfriend, exterminate, ex-wife|
|extra-||extracurricular, extraordinary, extra-terrestrial|
|fore-||forecast, forehead, foresee, foreword, foremost|
|im-||import, impossible, impolite|
|in-||inside, insert, indefinite|
|inter-, intra-||interact, intermediate, intergalactic, intranet|
|micro-||microscope, microbiology, microfilm, microwave|
|mid-||middle, midway, midsummer|
|mis-||misbehave, mistake, misunderstand, misread|
|mono-||monotone, monobrow, monolithic|
|out-||outpatient, outive sb|
|post-||post-mortem, postpone, post-natal, post-war|
|re-||return, rediscover, refresh, reunite|
|sub-||submerge, submarine, sub-category, subtitle|
|super-||superfood, superstar, supernatural, supermarket|
|trans-||transport, transnational, transatlantic, transparent|
|tri-||triangle, tripod, tricycle|
|un-||unfinished, unfriendly, undone, unknown, unable, unhappy|
|uni-||unicycle, universal, unilateral, unanimous|
⚠ We use im- instead of in- with words that start with the letter m or p: There are a few rules to remember:
⚠ Many words with a prefix or suffix have a base that does not exist by itself, for example immediate (the word mediate alone does not exist).
It’s the same as for prefixes except that they are added at the end!
⚠ The same word can have different meanings depending on the suffixes assigned to it, and can transform it into a noun or adjective:
- read + er = reader
- read + able = readable
⚠ you can also put both a prefix and a suffix to certain words!
- un + read + able = unreadable
|SUFFIX TO A NAME|
|-acy||democracy, accuracy, lunacy|
|-al||remedial, denial, trial, criminal|
|-ance, -ence||nuisance, ambience, tolerance|
|-dom||freedom, boredom, kingdom|
|-er, -or||reader, creator, interpreter, inventor, collaborator, teacher|
|-hood||brotherhood, childhood, neighbourhood|
|-ism||communism, scepticism, socialislm|
|-ist||geologist, protagonist, sexist, scientist, theorist, communist|
|-ity, -ty||brutality, equality, cruelty|
|-ness||happyness, highness, sickness|
|-ship||friendship, hardship, internship, relationship|
|-sion, -tion||position, promotion, cohesion|
|SUFFIX TO A VERB|
|-ate||irritate, collaborate, create, complicate|
|-en||sharpen, strengthen, loosen, harden, soften|
|-ify, -fy||justify, simplify, magnify, satisfy, clarify|
|-ise, -ize||publicise, synthesise, hypnotise|
|-ible||edible, incredible, audible|
|-able, -ible||usable, laughable|
|-al||fiscal, thermal, herbal, colonial|
|-ese||Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese|
|-en||broken, golden, wooden|
|-esque||picturesque, burlesque, grotesque|
|-ful||handful, playful, hopeful, skilful, armful, useful|
|-ic,||classic, Islamic, poetic|
|-ical||psychological, hypocritical, methodical, nonsensical, musical|
|-ious, -ous||jealous, religious, ridiculous|
|-ish||spanish, british, childish|
|-ive||inquisitive, informative, attentive|
|-less||meaningless, hopeless, homeless|
|-ly||daily, monthly, weekly|
|-y||dainty, beauty, airy, jealousy|
|-ly||softly, slowly, happily, crazily, madly, easily|
|-ward, -wards||towards, afterwards, backwards, inward|
|-wise||otherwise, likewise, clockwise|