EC English Blog

Live and learn English

Search

How to use Prefixes and Suffixes in English 

Sharing is caring!

If you’re delving into English, you’re bound to cross paths with ‘prefixes and suffixes’. We teach these in depth at all EC English Language Centres , but we’re giving you a free lesson right here. 

A prefix is a collection of letters placed at the onset of a word. Intriguingly, a prefix can’t function independently but has the prowess to alter a word’s essence.  

1. “I feel uncomfortable speaking Italian; more practice is warranted.” 

   – Base Word: Comfortable | Prefix: Un- 

   – Outcome: Un- + Comfortable = Not Comfortable 

2. “After underperforming in the test, the boy was demotivated, expecting better outcomes.” 

   – Base Word: Motivated | Prefix: De- 

   – Outcome: De- + Motivated = Lacking Motivation 

3. “Have you seen the latest ‘Mission Impossible’? Tom Cruise’s real stunts are jaw-dropping!” 

   – Base Word: Possible | Prefix: Im- 

   – Outcome: Im– + Possible = Not Possible 

Here’s 12 prevalent prefixes: 

| No. | Prefix | Meaning           | Example Word     | 

|———|————|———————–|———————-| 

| 1      | Anti-      | Against               | Antisocial           | 

| 2      | De-        | Opposite              | Demotivated          | 

| 3      | Un-        | Not                   | Unhappy              | 

| 4      | Dis-       | Not, opposite of      | Disagree             | 

| 5      | Im-        | Not                   | Impolite             | 

| 6      | Mid-       | Middle                | Midday               | 

| 7      | Mis-       | Wrongly               | Misunderstand        | 

| 8      | Over-      | Excessive             | Overenthusiastic     | 

| 9      | Pre-       | Before                | Prehistoric          | 

| 10     | Re-        | Again                 | Rewrite              | 

| 11     | Super-     | Above, beyond         | Superhuman           | 

| 12     | Under-     | Below                 | Underestimate        | 

To truly harness the power of prefixes, it’s pivotal to not just comprehend them, but also consistently employ them in real-life contexts, enhancing both understanding and application. 

A suffix is a set of letters affixed to the end of a word. It can’t stand alone and transforms the word’s meaning. Interestingly, suffixes modify words differently than prefixes. For clarity, consider the following illustrations: 

1. “I’m focusing on my personal development.” 

   – Root: Develop | Suffix: -ment 

   – Role: Converts the verb ‘develop’ into the noun ‘development’. 

2. “Trust is vital in a true friendship.” 

   – Root: Friend | Suffix: -ship 

   – Role: Alters the noun ‘friend’ (person) into ‘friendship’ (state of being friends). 

3. “He mastered Italian quickly.” 

   – Root: Quick | Suffix: -ly 

   – Role: Transforms the adjective ‘quick’ into the adverb ‘quickly’, describing the verb’s manner. 

Here’s a quick reference to various suffixes: 

| Suffix | Transforms Root Into | Example (with ROOT type) | 

|————|————————–|——————————| 

| -ity       | Noun                     | Reality [Real (Adjective)]   | 

| -ment      | Noun                     | Improvement [Improve (Verb)] | 

| -ness      | Noun                     | Happiness [Happy (Adjective)]| 

| -ship      | Noun                     | Internship [Intern (Noun, Person)]| 

| -ation     | Noun                     | Motivation [Motivate (Verb)] | 

| -ize       | Verb                     | Authorize [Author (Noun)]    | 

| -able/-ible| Adjective                | Reliable [Rely (Verb)]       | 

| -ful       | Adjective                | Beautiful [Beauty (Noun)]    | 

| -ive       | Adjective                | Sensitive [Sense (Noun)]     | 

| -ous       | Adjective                | Dangerous [Danger (Noun)]    | 

| -ly        | Adverb                   | Slowly [Slow (Adjective)]    | 

| -ally      | Adverb                   | Accidentally [Accident (Noun)]| 

Find your Inspiration Motivation  Vision Voice

Let's start your journey to learning English.
About EC

Every year we help students from over 140 countries to achieve their language goals and realise their dreams at our amazing English schools across the world.

Interested in live online English lessons? 

Learn more about our online courses at EC LIVE
Recent posts