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Prefixes and Suffixes: 3 Word Formation Examples Lists

prefixes and suffixes

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What is word formation in grammar? and what are the methods of word formation? What are prefixes and suffixes?

Word formation definition: 

Merriam Webster dictionary defines word formation as the formation of words in a language by the processes of derivation and composition.

We usually add a prefix or suffix to make new words. How are prefixes and suffixes alike? Both are a type of affix and both can change a word’s meaning. 

Word formation prefixes and suffixes in English: Word formation examples lists

Word formation suffixes and prefixes (important word formation lists)

List of prefixes and suffixes

Generally, we use prefixes and suffixes to make new words. This post deals with words with prefixes and suffixes.

Word formation prefixes

Prefix meaning

A prefix is defined as a letter or group of letters that we add to the beginning of a word to form new words. Prefixes can be used to guess the meaning of words.

Below is a high-quality poster that can be printed out. The poster contains prefixes list, their meanings, and examples. Also, there is a link to an outstanding video on prefixes

Prefix examples

Look at the words tie, retie and untie.  What do they have in common? ( prefix of tie)

They all include the word tie. So the word tie is the root word or base word. Adding a prefix changes the meaning of the root.

Adding a prefix changes the meaning of the root.

Here are lists of common prefixes and suffixes, along with their meanings and examples, that we use in word formation.

The word formation examples list below shows prefixes (word building prefixes)

What prefix means new? What is the prefix for new and recent?

The prefix meaning new and recent is neo-

The prefix of tie is un- (untie)

The prefix of look is over- (overlook which means fail to notice = misheed)

The prefix with present or potent is omni- (omnipresent, omnipotent)

The prefix of appeared is dis-. It means the opposite of. (disappeared is the opposite of appeared).

The prefix of able is un- or dis- (Examples: unable, disable)

The prefix of see is un- or for- (Examples: unsee, forsee)

The prefix of paid is under- (underpaid)

The prefix for potent is im- (impotent)

The prefix for tied is un- (untied)

The prefix of populated is un- (unpopulated which means uninhabited)

The prefix for the word trust is dis- , un- or mis- ( we can say distrust, untrust or mistrust. All of them mean lack of trust or confidence)

The prefix for accurate is in- (inaccurate which means not accurate or incorrect or wrong)

The prefix of use is mis- (misuse which means use in the wrong way or badly) (The prefix mis means wrongly or badly)

The prefix of necessary is un- (unnecessary)

The prefix that means recent is neo- (Words with prefix neo-)

The prefix for tie (tie prefix) is un- (untie)

The poster below shows over 10 examples of prefixes

prefixes and suffixes
20 examples of prefixes with their meanings

The prefixes in-, im-, il-, ir-, un-, dis- have the same meaning. They mean ‘opposite of’ or ‘not’. When we add these prefixes to a word, they give its opposite.

Prefixes examples and prefixes rules and tips

  • im– is used before a word beginning with ‘m’ or ‘p’ {e.g. Immature, impatient…}

    Adjectives beginning with c usually take the prefix in{e.g.  incorrect…}

  • il– is used before a word beginning with ‘l’ {e.g. illiterate, illegal…}

  • ir–  is used before a word beginning with ‘r’ {e.g. irregular, irrelevant…} What does the prefix ir mean? The prefix ir means ‘opposite of’ or ‘not’

  • There are no rules for in– , un– and dis

  • We can also use the prefixes un– and dis– with verbs to form their opposites. (e.g. untie, unfasten, unpack, undo, unlock, undress, disagree, disappear, dislike, disqualify, disobey, disconnect etc.)
  • dis meaning (with adjectives, adverbs and nouns): The prefix dis- in adjectives, adverbs and nouns mean ‘not’ or ‘opposite of’ (dishonest, disagreeably, disadvantage)
  • in prefix meaning (meaning of the prefix in-)  (in prefix): The prefix in means ‘not’ or ‘opposite of’ (in prefix words: incorrect (= not correct), infinite, inaccurate, inactive, inadequate, incapable, incoherent, incomplete, indirect…) (words with the prefix in)
  • The prefix of able can be dis-, un– or en-. Here are some examples: disable (verb), unable (adjective), enable (verb).

Prefix video

  • Word formation suffixes

What is a suffix in English? /What does suffix mean? / Suffix meaning formation?

A suffix is the letters or syllables that we add to the end of a word to create new words. Using suffixes to form new words is a good way to enrich your vocabulary.

suffix for formation

As we said before, we add prefix or suffix to make new words. Knowing the different suffixes can enable you to guess the meaning of new words and recognize whether the word is a verb, a noun, an adjective, an adverb, etc.

The suffix can change the spelling of the original word. For example, the -e ending of the verb createand the adjective wiseis omitted when the suffix is added.

  • Create → creation
  • wise→ wisdom

Adding the suffixes change the spelling of the original word.

In the English language, not only do suffixes change the spelling of the original word but they also change the word’s part of speech. For example, the suffix ly changes adjectives to adverbs. (brave (adjective) → bravely (adverb), correct → correctly )

Here is a list of common suffixes (suffixes list/suffix examples) 

prefixes and suffixes
suffixes examples

Suffixes tips:

  • The suffix less meaning (less definition): The suffix less means ‘without’.
  • al suffix meaning: The suffix al in adjectives means ‘having the quality of’ or ‘connected with’. The suffix al in nouns means ‘the state or process of’
  • able suffix meaning: The suffix able means ‘that can or must be’ or ‘having the quality of’

The table below displays more suffixes with meaning and examples (suffix words)

word formation
Word formation: Suffixes

Very Important Related Posts:

How Are Prefixes and Suffixes Alike?

Important Prefixes and Suffixes Exercises with Answers pdf

Prefixes and Suffixes Exercises / Prefixes and suffixes worksheet (Word formation exercises)

In the exercises below, you should add prefixes and suffixes to the words in the sentences so that they are meaningful sentences.

A. Fill in the blanks with the correct prefix. Make any necessary changes

  1. He has never been to school. He is …………literate. He can’t write and read.
  2. Male students …………..number female students in rural areas.
  3. He is so ……..……honest that nobody trusts him.
  4. My father is ……..…..partial. He does not discriminate between his children.
  5. I’m sorry to …….…….pronounce your name.
  6. Children in some African countries are ………..fed. They suffer from hunger.
  7. China is an………..…populated country. It has over a billion people.
  8. It is ……….…responsible of some students not to prepare for their exams and resort to cheating.
  9. Big cities are usually ………………..crowded.
  10. It’s ………………moral to smoke in class and expose students to danger.
  11. Most workers are complaining that they are ………………paid.

B. Complete with the right suffixes. Make any necessary changes.

  1. Georgia is cap……………….of helping you with your problems. Why don’t you ask her to?
  2. Be care………………! A car is coming.
  3. The best treat………..……..for obesity is doing sport every day.
  4. Our factory has installed two video cameras for secure ………………reasons.
  5. An anonym………………person called me twice last night.
  6. The belief that things will improve is called optim……….., whereas the belief that things will get worse is called pessim……..
  7. The legs of these trousers are too long. Could you short…………..them for me, please?
  8. Don’t be pessimist……..…….. Everything will be all right.
  9. Could you simple ………..………..your instructions, please?
  10. Nobody can understand this sentence. It is meaning…………
  11. Criticize…………………is useful on condition that it is constructive.
  12. He does exercise every day so as to strength……………his muscles.
  13. The news of his best friend’s death sad……..….….him.
  14. I don’t see any similar…………….between the two presidents.
  15. She works very hard. She has the able…….………to succeed.
  16. For further inform………..….., contact me on this mobile number.

People who search for word formation, also search for prefixes and suffixes worksheets, prefixes and suffixes pdf, prefixes and suffixes examples, and prefixes and suffixes exercises.

Download prefixes and suffixes worksheet pdf here

Related Posts:

What are the 10 examples of prefix?

Prefix Prefix meaningWords with prefixes/ examples of prefixes/prefixes examples
en-cause to be/make/put intoenrich, enlarge, encircle, enable, endanger…
re-do again/backrewrite, reread, resend, readmit, re-advertise, reaffirm…
pre-before/earlierprehistoric, preplan, pretest…
post-afterpostgraduate, post-war, post hoc, posthumous, postmodifier, postmortem…
non-not/ not connected withnon-alcoholic, non-governmental, non-aligned, non-essential…
under-too little/ not enoughundercooked, underpaid, undercharge, underdone, underfed…
mis-wrongly/badlymisunderstand, misbehave, misapply, misdeed…
self-by oneselfself-education, self-analysis, self-confidence, self-assured…
multi-many / more than onemultinational, multimedia, multi-access, multicolored…
bi- twice/ two/doublebilingual, biannual, bicameral, bicycle, biennial…
NeoPrefix meaning new/recentneo-Georgian, neo-colonialism, neo-fascist, neoliberal,
Tri- Prefix meaning threeTricycle, triatomic, triacid, tri-band, tri-focused, tri-camera photography

Words with Both Prefixes and Suffixes List

Here is a list of words with a prefix and suffix and a root.

  • Unhelpful
  • undoubtedly
  • Unacceptable
  • Uninteresting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unsuccessful
  • Unsuccessfully
  • Impossibly
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism
  • Disrespectful
  • Disrespectfully
  • Distasteful
  • Disconnected
  • Disloyalty
  • Ilogically
  • Nonconformist
  • Replacement
  • Reappearance
  • Immeasureable

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