Common Prefixes and Suffixes

Prefixes and Suffixes

Common Prefixes and Suffixes: A Quick Reference Guide 

Prefixes and suffixes are important components of the English language. Prefixes are added to the beginning of a word and change the meaning of the word, while suffixes are added to the end of a word and also change its meaning. For instance, the prefix ‘un’ can be added to the word ‘happy’ to make it ‘unhappy’ and the suffix ‘-ly’ can be added to the word ‘quick’ to make it ‘quickly’. Knowing how to use prefixes and suffixes correctly can help to improve a person’s understanding of the English language and help them to become more proficient in their writing.

Prefixes:

Are a group of letters that come at the beginning of a word and they change its meaning :

Example:

  • happy/unhappy
  • war/postwar

Suffixes:

Are a group of letters that come at the end of a word and they change its category ( verb – noun – adjective – adverb….)   :
Example:

child (NOUN) / childish (ADJECTIVE)
Help (VERB) / Helpful (ADJECTIVE)
lazy (ADJECTIVE) / lazily (ADVERB)

  • Generally speaking, there are three types of suffixes :
  1. Verb Suffixes
    These are suffixes added to adjectives or nouns to make verbs.
    dark (adjective) => darken
    center (noun) => centralize
  2. Noun Suffixes
    These are suffixes added to verbs, adjectives, or nouns to make nouns.
    manage (verb) => management
    serious ( adjective) => seriousness
    friend (noun) => friendship
  3. Adjectival Suffixes

These are suffixes added to nouns, adjectives, or verbs to make adjectives.
beauty (noun) => beautiful
economic (adjective) =>economical
excite (verb) => excited

NOTE: a word without any prefix or suffix is called the root

List of Common Prefixes

PrefixMeaningExamples
antiagainst, opposed toantibiotic, antiwar, anti-virus, antifreeze
autoself/by oneselfautobiography – autograph – autodidact – automatic
bitwobicycle – bilingual – bilateral
cowith – togetherco-worker, co-producer, co-author
counteragainst, opposingcounter-clockwise , counteract , counter-attack
deundo / opposite action / removedepress, demotivate, decode, degenerate
disnot / the opposite ofdislike, distrust, disable, disagree, disorganized, disarm, disadvantage, disable, disobey
encause to be or becomeenlarge ,enrich ,endanger ,enable ,enact
exformer / previousex-teacher , ex-president , ex-student, ex-wife
ilnot ( used before a word beginning with the letter “L” like legal)illegal ,illogical ,illicit ,illegitimate
imnot ( used before a word beginning with the letter “m” like mature or “p” like possible)immature ,impossible ,improbable ,imperfect -impersonal ,immodest ,immobile
innot / opposite toindistinct, inaccurate, indecent, inhuman, incorrect, incapable, insufficient, incomprehensible, incomparable
inin, movement toinsert, instill, inbuilt
interamong / between / connectedinternational, inter-ship, intercontinental, internet
irnot ( used before a word beginning with the letter “r” like rational)irrational, irregular, irresistible, irresponsible, irrelevant
miswrongly / badlymislead, mistake, misunderstand
monoone / having onemonolingual, monosyllabic
multimanymulticultural, multilingual, multimedia
neonew / based on something old but in a new formneocolonialism , neoclassic , neonatal ,non-conservative
nonnotnon-governmental, nonsense, non-essential
outmore / to a greater extentoutnumber, outlive, outrage, outlaw
overabove / too muchovercook, overheat, overdo, overeat, overpaid
polymanypolyglot , polyclinic , polygamy
postafter /come afterpostwar , post-conflict , post-communism ,post-colonialism
pseudofalsepseudonym , pseudo-scientist ,
prebefore / come beforeprehistoric, prefix, pretest, predict, prepare
proin favor ofpro-American, pro-capitalist, proactive
reback / do againredo, rewrite, rename, revisit
selfby oneselfself-made, self-sufficient, self-service, self-taught, selfish
halfsemihalf-baked, halfway, half-time
subunder / beneaththe submarine, subject, subordinate, subway
superabove / beyondsuperpower, superman, superstar
telefartelephone, telescope, telecommunicate, telescope
transacrosstranscontinental , transatlantic , transfer , transform
unnotunknown, unjust, unkind, unsafe, unable
underbelow / beneath / not enough , insufficientunderline, under-age, underemployed, underpaid

List of Common suffixes

suffixesmeaningexamples
-able/-ibleliable / that can be of /capable ofdrinkable, washable, disposable, believable,
responsible
-ai /ialhas the property ofpersonal, industrial, financial, critical, musical
-ancestate /condition or qualityacceptance, inheritance, performance, assistance, importance, guidance
-antquality or state / full ofassistant, distant, important, pleasant, ignorant, relevant, tolerant
-ateto makecooperate, procrastinate, coordinate, decorate, collaborate, accelerate, activate, donate, animate
-entquality or statefluent, innocent, prudent, silent, different, confident
-arone who / thing which / fromliar, regular, muscular, solar, lunar, similar
-arylike / connected with / belonging tostationary, dictionary, legendary, imaginary, necessary, secondary, documentary, summary, voluntary
-domstate or conditionfreedom, boredom, wisdom
-cystate or qualityliteracy, accuracy, frequency, fluency, democracy, privacy
-edpast fromturned, collected, cooked, killed
-enmade of (adjective)golden, wooden
-ento make (verb)lengthen, widen, shorten, soften, threaten
-encequality or statereference, conference, residence, difference, violence, existence, competence
-entone whoresident, president
-erone whoteacher, writer, painter, worker, player
-ercomparativetaller, shorter, bigger, smaller, faster
-fulfull of/withhopeful, painful, careful, joyful, skillful, peaceful, successful, harmful, wonderful
-hoodstate / condition / periodfatherhood, girlhood, neighborhood, adulthood, womanhood, brotherhood
-ichaving the property of / connected withheroic, economic, automatic, periodic, allergic, fantastic
-ifmake …./cause…clarify, justify, purify, solidify, classify, simplify, qualify, verify, identify
-ionact / processaction, prediction, pollution, solution, addition, occupation, description, explanation, classification
-ishlike / similar to / of a nationalitychildish, girlish, mannish, Spanish, British, foolish
-ismact / action / behaviour / doctrinetourism, cubism, criticism, socialism, journalism, racism, feminism, heroism
-ista person with specific knowledge, belief, or behavioroptimist, typist, specialist, stylist, socialist, novelist, dentist
-iveconnection / function / disposition / character /quality / tendency / inclinationdetective, destructive, impressive, massive, productive, creative, active, attentive, passive, relative, addictive
-itystate/quality or conditionsanity, ambiguity, ability, purity, fraternity, dignity
-ize / -isebring about a state or condition / makemodernize, colonize, advertise, summarise, analyze
-lesswithouthomeless, childless, fearless, toothless, sleepless, jobless
-lyeverydaily, weekly, monthly
-mentaction / processenjoyment, employment, development, movement, environment, agreement
-nessquality/state of beingkindness, openness, darkness, awareness, happiness, greatness
-orthe person whoactor, doctor, advisor, counselor, governor, sailor
-orythe state of being/relating tosatisfactory, discriminatory, repository, contradictory, compulsory
-ousfull of / havingmarvelous, religious, famous
-shipstate or experience of having a specific positionleadership, relationship, championship, citizenship, friendship, membership
-ythe state of / havingsunny, rainy, happy

14 COMMENTS

  1. hi sir am aziza i wanted to askl you if prefixes and sufixes are included in 2 bac national exam? THANKS IN ADVANCE

  2. I am a teacher too, i use your site to help my students practice more . May Allah reward you for all your efforts