Affix : An element that is added to a base or root word to form another word. Affixes can be in the form of prefixes or suffixes.

A PREFIX: is an affix that is added to the beginning of a word e.g. “audio” in “audio-visual” is both a prefix and an affix.

“l A SUFFIX: is an affix that is added to the end of a word. Thus, aholic” in ”workaholic “is a suffix and an affix. Here are some common prefixes with their meaning.

PREFIX                                                  MEANING                                           EXAMPLES

a-                                                            on                                                           afloat, above

ab-                                                         away, from                                         absolve, abnormal

ante-                                                     before                                                  ante-natal, ante-room

anti-                                                       against                                                  ante-aircraft, anti-body

con-                                                       with, together                                   confederation, conjunction

de-                                                         down, below, opposite                  defreeze, depress

di-                                                           two, twice, double                           disyllabic, detractive

en-                                                         in, make                                               enclose, enlarge

bi-,                                                         two, twice, double                           bicycle, bilingual

ex-                                                         out, away                                            export, exhale

ex-                                                         former                                                  ex-wife, ex-student

fore-                                                      before                                                  forehead, forever on

hyper-                                                  more, greater                                    hyperactive, hypertension

inter-                                                     between, among                             international, interchange.

SUFFIXES: examples are

  1. Some suffixes make the new words adjective. They include –any, -evy, -en, -ish, -less, -ly, -ous, -ic, like, -y, -ful, e.g dangerous, useless.
  2. Those which make the words verbs include, -ing, -ed, -ude, -em, -ure, -ise, -ize, -yse, e,g nationalize, lighten.
  3. Suffixes which two words into nouns include: -er, -or, -ar, -er, -ship, -hood,-ness, -ance,-ism,-dom,-tion, -ity, -ure, e.g punishment, friendship, childhood.


A ROOT: is the smallest or basic part of a word which is joined by a prefix or suffix. E.g happy – unhappy, solve –dissolve, come – welcome. We can also add suffixes to these words  such as happiness, solvent, comes/comedy



Complete the following by supplying suitable prefixes, using these: (dis, ex, il, im, in, ir, fore, de, mis, un)

  • ——- port, (b) —— legal (c) —– take (d) —–quality (e) —– press (f) —–manage (g) —-safe (h) —-rail (i) ——sufficient (j) —- moral (k) —- direct (l) —- polite.

Complete the following by supplying suitable suffixes using these: (ful, ness, able, less, ment, er, ant, al, or)

  • Happy (b) accident (c) profession (d) harm (e) hope (f) engine (g) fair (h) attend (i) miser (j) enjoy (k) judge (l) farm

ASSIGNEMT: Give 2 examples of words that have the following prefixes in them: mat, ploy, post, pro, re, sub, super, tele, tri, trans, uni, dis, in, mis, non, un, im, il

See also

Structure – Making Uncountable Nouns Countable

Essay Writing – Articles

Structure – More about Phrasal Verbs

Comprehension – Reading for Critical Evaluation

Speech Work – Rhyme Scheme

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