Prefix definition: an affix attached to the beginning of a word to modify its meaning.
Suffix definition: a particle attached to the end of a word to modify its meaning or change it into a different word class.
What is the Difference Between Prefixes and Suffixes?
In the English language, we often place prefixes and suffixes at the beginning and end, respectively, of a word in order to modify it.
The original word does have meaning in itself, but by adding a prefix or suffix to it, we change the word.
What is a prefix? Prefixes are placed at the beginning of a word in order to alter its meaning.
- Janet resubmitted her application after she was initially denied a loan.
Resubmitted includes the prefix re which means again.
What is a suffix? Suffixes are placed at the end of a word in order to alter its meaning or change the classification of the word.
- We work hard in order to ensure our children’s happiness.
Happiness includes the state of being suffix ness. By adding the suffix, we have changed our word from an adjective to a noun in order for it to fit grammatically in our sentence.
What are Prefixes?
What does prefix mean? A prefix can be a letter or group of letters that may be added to the beginning of a word in order to modify its meaning.
- a-, an- = without; amoral, anemic
- ante- = before; antecedent
- co- = with; co-worker
- de- = off, remove; de-ice
- ex =out of, former; ex-boyfriend
- il = not; illegal
- inter = between; intergalactic
- post = after; postpone
- super = above; supersede
- un = not; unnatural
Let’s try using a prefix in a sentence.
- Craig was dissatisfied with the customer service he received at the store.
- Prefix = dis = negative
When to Hyphenate Prefixes
Do you hyphenate prefixes? At times, you will want to add a hyphen in between your prefix and word.
Proper nouns: when adding a prefix to a proper noun, you must add a hyphen:
- Not liking apple pie may be seen as un-American.
Same vowel: If the last letter of your prefix is the same as the first letter in the word, you need to add a hyphen:
- In order to be allowed re-entry to the amusement park, patrons must obtain a stamped ticket.
Special prefixes: Always use a hyphen when you use ex- and self-.
- Lisa was self-conscious about her body after having a baby.
- The ex-student body president trained the current officer on how to organize prom.
Clarification: Use a hyphen when a word may cause confusion or look odd in the sentence.
- The mother reminder the children to re-cover the sandbox after they were done playing.
We need the hyphen, so that readers don’t confuse re-cover with the word recover, which means to reinstate health or regain a lost possession.
What are Suffixes?
What does suffix mean? Suffixes are used at the end of words in order to change the word to fit grammatically within your sentence.
- –al = having characteristics of; remedial, denial
- –ed = past-tense verbs; traveled, talked
- –en = made of, consisting of; wooden, golden
- –er, -est = comparative; stronger, strongest
- –tion, -ion = state of being, condition; completion, relation
- –ity = quality of; humility, enormity
- –less = without; hopeless, homeless
- –ly = characteristic of; brotherly, lovely
- –s, -es = more than one; apples, trenches
Let’s look at an example of a suffix used in a sentence:
- In government class, students will research the current election.
- Suffix = ion = act, process
When to Hyphenate Suffixes
Do you hyphenate suffixes? We rarely hyphenate suffixes, but here are some instances in which you may add one.
Cumbersome words: an optional hyphen can be used when a word seems lengthy without one.
Exception words: -like, -type, -elect,
When last letter is same as first letter:
- graffiti-ism, past-tense
Define prefix: the definition of prefix is an element placed at the beginning of a word to alter or qualify its meaning.
Define suffix: the definition of suffix is a particle placed at the end of a word to alter its meaning or adjust its grammatical sense.
- Prefixes and suffixes are added to words to change them.
- Prefixes are added to change the meaning of the root word.
- Suffixes are added so that the word will make grammatical sense in a sentence.
Here are a couple of final examples of how we use prefixes and suffixes.
- Many science fiction books include an intergalactic war.
- Prefix = inter = between
- The employee rushed to his car after work on Friday.
- Suffix = ed = past-tense verb