An Important Guide to Prefixes and Suffixes with Examples


Prefixes and suffixes are usually added to words to make new words. So, what is a prefix and what is a suffix? This post is an essential guide to prefixes and suffixes in English.

Guide to Prefixes and Suffixes in English

Learning the different prefixes and suffixes and their meanings has some benefits. First, they can help you remember the meaning of words so easily. Second, they can enable you to expand your vocabulary and work out the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Examples of Prefixes with Meaning

A prefix is a letter or a group of letters that can be added to the beginning of a word to make a new word. For example, if you add the prefix dis- to the beginning of the word ‘appear’, you get the word ‘disappear’.

The table below shows various examples of prefixes and their meaning and examples for each prefix.

a-not/ withoutatheist, asexually, atypical, etc.
en- make/ cause to be/ put intoenlarge, enrich, encircle, etc.
de-removedemotivate, debone, defrost, etc.
dis-not/ the opposite ofdisappear, disapprove, disconnect, discontinue, disorganized, disloyal, etc.
not/ the opposite ofimpossible, imperfect, immobile, immature, impersonal, immaterial, etc.
in-not/ the opposite ofincapable, incorrect, incomplete, inedible, ineffective, etc.
ir-not/ the opposite ofirrelevant, irrelevance, irregular, etc.
il-not/ the opposite ofillegal, illegitimate, illogical, illegible, illiberal, illiteracy, etc.
un-not/the opposite ofunhappy, unfair, unable, unreliable, uneducated, uninteresting, etc.
non-notnonfiction, nonviolent, nonstop, nonsense, nonthreatening, nonrefundable, etc.
re-again/ backredo, rewind, rebuild, reunite, reevaluate, rewrite, recycle, etc.
pre-before in time/ prior toprehistoric, preview, prepay, prearrange, prelude, precondition, etc.
post- afterpostwar, postgraduate, post-lunch, etc.
under-below/ beneathunderfed, undergraduate, undercover, undergrowth, undercooked, underripe, etc.
over-excessively/ too muchovercook, overpower, oversleep, overestimate, overload, overcharge, etc.
up-increase/ higherupgrade, uplift, update, uproot, upswing, upturn, etc.
mis-wrongly/ incorrectly/badly misunderstand, misbehave, misinterpret, misplace, misjudge, mislead, etc.
multi-manymultilingual, multitask, multinational, multimedia, multicolored, multifunctional, etc.
semi-half/ partlysemicircle, semiannual, semicolon, semiconscious, semifinal, semitransparent, etc.
sub- under/ bellowsubmarine, substandard, submerge, subconscious, subculture, subcommittee, subskill, etc.
super-beyond/ abovesupernatural, superstar, superpower, superhuman, superimpose, supersonic, etc.
uni-one/ singleunicorn, unify, unique, unilateral, unisex, unify, etc.
anti-against/ oppositeanti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-establishment, anti-aging, antiseptic, anti-war, etc.
auto-self/ automaticautobiography, automobile, autofocus, autograph, autonomous, autoimmune, etc.
bi-two/ twice/ once every twobilingual, bicycle, biweekly, bipedal, biannual, bimonthly, etc.
di-doubledioxide, etc.
tri-threetripod, tricycle, triangle, tri-focused, tri-band, triacid, etc.
co-together/ withcooperate, coexist, coauthor, coworker, cohabitate, co-owner, etc.
en- / (em-)to cause toenable, encourage, enrich, engage, enliven, empower, embolden, etc.
extra-beyond/ additionalextraordinary, extracurricular, extraterrestrial, extraordinary, extrapolate, extrasensory, etc.
ex-formerex-husband, ex-president, ex-general, ex-boyfriend, ex-employee, ex-member, ex-student, etc.
inter-between/ amonginteract, international, interfere, intermediate, interconnect, intercontinental, etc.
self-by onselfself-taught, self-control, self-addressed. etc.
neo-newneocolonialism, neo-fascist, neo-Georgian, etc.
hyper-extremely/ above/ over /more than normalhyper-critical, hypertension, hyper-sensitive, etc.
fore-before / in the front offoretell, foreword, foreground, etc.

Examples of Suffixes with Meaning

A suffix refers to a letter or a group of letters that can be added to the end of a word to form new words.

The following table displays examples of suffixes and their meaning. Specifically, the most common suffixes that are used to form nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, along with their meanings and examples for each suffix.

guide to prefixes and suffixes
-s/-es1. The endings that verbs take in the present tense in the third person singular (he, she, it).
2. The endings that some nouns take to form the plural.
1. speaks, writes, watches, washes, fixes, goes, etc.
2. animals, cats, dogs, tables, desks, watches, etc.
-ingPresent participle verbs/ gerunds/ adjectivesrunning, swimming, dancing, interesting, exciting, alarming, frightening, etc.
-edPast tense of some regular verbs/ adjectiveswalked, jumped, excited, interested, bored, scared, frightened, relaxed, etc.
-er/-orperson or thing that performs an actionteacher, actor, writer, doctor, actor, singer
-tion/ -sionnouns indicating an action, process, or statecompletion, decision, discussion, expression, admission, transition, etc.
-mentnouns indicating a state or conditionmovement, development, excitement, improvement, enjoyment, achievement, etc.
-lyadverbsquickly, beautifully, happily, loudly, easily, carefully, etc.
-fulfull of/ adjectives indicating fullness or abundancebeautiful, careful, joyful, grateful, delightful, successful, etc.
-lesshaving no/ withouthopeless, useless, fearless, endless, homeless, heartless, careless, etc.
-able/-iblecan be done/ capable of being/ able to visible, incredible, reliable, enjoyable, accessible, comfortable, etc.
-istnouns indicating a person who practices or believes in sthscientist, dentist, artist, pianist, economist, pharmacist, cyclist, atheist, etc.
-ity/-tynouns indicating a state, condition, or qualitysimplicity, diversity, integrity, curiosity, loyalty, clarity, creativity, etc.
-shipnouns indicating a position, condition, or statefriendship, leadership, citizenship, ownership, companionship, partnership, etc.
-hoodnouns indicating a state, condition, or qualityneighborhood, falsehood, brotherhood, motherhood, adulthood, parenthood, childhood, etc.
-ward/-wardsadverbs indicating direction or tendencyeastward, forward, homeward, backward, upward, afterwards, onward, etc.
-al/ -ic/ -ical having the quality of — national, universal, international, natural, traditional, etc.
— historic, economic, symbolic, romantic, optimistic, diplomatic, etc.
— economical, historical, ecological, technological, etc.
-ish likechildish, boyish, girlish, foolish, etc.
-eewith passive meaningemployee, attendee, absentee, etc.
-proofsafe againstwaterproof, windproof, rainproof, childproof, etc.
-ate(in adjectives) full of or having the quality ofpassionate, articulate, etc.

Verb forming Suffixes Examples

Here is a table that includes some common verb-forming suffixes, their meanings, and examples for each suffix.

-en/ -nto cause to become or make moredeepen, broaden, strengthen, lengthen, worsen, fasten, soften, harden, brighten, tighten, weaken, widen, etc.
-en(in adjectives) made of/ looking likewooden, woollen (Brit. E), woolen (Am.E), golden, drunken, brazen, etc.
-ize/-iseto act, become or makeAmericanize, privatize, organize, analyze, apologize, prioritize, recognize, emphasize, etc.
-ifyto make or cause to becomesolidify, diversify, clarify, amplify, magnify, justify, beautify, simplify, etc.
-ateto give or provide withactivate, communicate, educate, accelerate, irrigate, collaborate, hyphenate, regulate, illustrate, demonstrate, generate, etc.

Remember these tips when you use suffixes:

  • The addition of a suffix usually alters the word’s class.
  • The addition of a suffix may result in the word maintaining its class while altering the meaning of the new word.
  • When you add a suffix, the spelling of the word changes.

Prefixes and Suffixes Worksheet pdf

Here are some prefixes and suffixes exercises with answers pdf grade 7

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