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Prefixes and suffixes

What are prefixes, suffixes, and affixes? First off,  an affix is any word such as a prefix or suffix that attaches to another word. By definition:One or more sounds or letters occurring as a bound form attached to the beginning or end of a word, base, or phrase or inserted within a word or base and serving to produce a derivative word or an inflectional form”. –Merriam-Webster.

‘Affix’ is basically the generic term for all prefixes, suffixes, and infixes, (infixes are rare in English but very common in Spanish). One really needs to understand prefixes (attached to the beginning of the word) and suffixes (attached to the end of the word) in order to speak English really well. Correct implementation of prefixes and suffixes will allow you to completely alter the meaning of a word with ease and without having to change the whole sentence. There are not many prefixes and suffixes, but the problem with these resides in the fact that there is no rule to their correct implementation. For example, ‘im’ negates ‘polite’ and not ‘in’, therefore, the correct negation to ‘polite’ is ‘impolite’. The prefix ‘im’, just like all other prefixes must be learned by heart or by memory, but nevertheless, it’s really not difficult to remember! Below, I’ll outline correct affix usage with examples. Remember, affixes alter: verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.


List of common prefixes for verbs, adjectives and adverbs
ante- before antenatal, anteroom, antedate,
anti- against, opposing antibiotic, antidepressant, antidote, antifreeze
circum- around circumstance, circumvent, circumnavigate
co- with, together co-worker, co-pilot, co-operation, co-worker
de- off, down, away from devalue, defrost, derail, demotivate, deactivate
dis- opposite of, against disagree, disappear, disintegrate, disapprove
em-, en- cause to, put into embrace, encode, embed, enclose, engulf
epi- upon, close to, after, central point epicentre, episcope, epidermis
ex- former, out of, no longer with ex-president, ex-boyfriend, exterminate
extra- More of, beyond extracurricular, extraordinary, extra-terrestrial
fore- before, beginning forecast, forehead, foresee, foreword, foremost
homo- same, two equal things homosexual, homonuclear, homoplastic
hyper- over, above, excess of hyperactive, hyperventilate
il-, im-, in-, ir- not, to negate, negative impossible, illegal, irresponsible, indefinite
im-, in- into, within insert, import, inside
infra- beneath, below infrastructure, infrared, infrasonic, infraspecific
inter-, intra- between interact, intermediate, intergalactic, intranet
macro- large, big version macroeconomics, macromolecule
micro- small, tiny, petite microscope, microbiology, microfilm, microwave
mid- middle, centre point midfielder, midway, midsummer
mis- wrongly, not correct misinterpret, misfire, mistake, misunderstand
mono- one, singular monotone, monobrow, monolithic
non- not, without nonsense, nonentity, nondescript
omni- all, every, all places omnibus, omnivore, omnipotent
para- beside parachute, paramedic, paradox
post- after,  post-mortem, postpone, post-natal
pre- before, beginning prefix, predetermine, pre-intermediate
re- again, repeat return, rediscover, reiterate, reunite
semi- half,  semicircle, semi-final, semiconscious
sub- under, below submerge, submarine, sub-category, subtitle
super- above, over, above  superfood, superstar, supernatural, superimpose
therm- heat, temperature thermometer, thermostat, thermodynamic
trans- across, beyond transport, transnational, transatlantic
tri- three triangle, tripod, tricycle
un- not, to negate, negative unfinished, unfriendly, undone, unknown
uni- one,  unicycle, universal, unilateral, unanimous
List of common suffixes for verbs, adjectives and adverbs: 
-acy state or quality democracy, accuracy, lunacy, fallacy 
-al the action or process of remedial, denial, trial, criminal,
-ance, -ence state or quality of nuisance, ambience, tolerance
-dom place or state of being freedom, stardom, boredom
-er, -or person or object that does a specified action reader, creator, interpreter, inventor, collaborator, teacher, terminator 
-ism doctrine, belief, theory Judaism, scepticism, escapism, cynicism 
-ist person or object that does a specified action Geologist, protagonist, sexist, scientist, theorist, communist, physicist 
-ity, -ty quality of extremity, validity, enormity, absurdity 
-ment condition, state of being enchantment, argument, agreement
-ness state of being, condition heaviness, highness, sickness, staleness 
-ship position held friendship, hardship, internship, 
-sion, -tion state of being position, promotion, cohesion, creation
-ate become mediate, collaborate, create, mandate
-en become sharpen, strengthen, loosen
-ify, -fy make or become justify, simplify, magnify, satisfy, clarify
-ise, -ize become publicise, synthesise, hypnotise
-able, -ible capable of being edible, fallible, incredible, audible, comprehensible, doable
-al having the form or character of fiscal, thermal, herbal, colonial,  
-esque in a manner of or resembling picturesque, burlesque, grotesque
-ful notable for, possess a skill handful, playful, hopeful, skillful, 
-ic, -ical having the form or character of psychological, hypocritical, methodical, nonsensical, musical
-ious, -ous characterised by pious, jealous, religious, ridiculous, malicious 
-ish having the quality of, being slightly of something squeamish, sheepish, childish, 
-ive having the nature of inquisitive, informative, attentive, native 
-less without, zero  meaningless, hopeless, homeless
-y characterised by dainty, beauty, airy, jealousy, hardly, dandy
-ly related to or quality softly, slowly, happily, crazily, madly, hopefully
-ward, -wards direction, movement towards, afterwards, backwards, inward, downward
-wise in relation to otherwise, likewise, clockwise



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