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word formation

Word Formation: Prefixes and Suffixes

Word formation in English

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

Word formation definition: 

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

Word Formation: Prefixes and Suffixes

Generally, we use prefixes and suffixes to make new words. 

  • Word formation prefixes

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

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.

 

Prefixes and suffixes

 

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.

  • Tips/ word formation rules:

  • 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…}

  • 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.)

Prefix video

  • Word formation suffixes

What is suffix in English?

Suffixes refer to the letters or syllables that we add to the end of a word to create new words.

prefixes and suffixes

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 (word formation list) with meanings and examples. (suffixes examples)

prefixes and suffixes

The table below displays more suffixes with meaning and examples (word formation list)

word formation

 

  • Word Formation Exercises (Prefixes and Suffixes Exercises)

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.

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.
  17. Most workers are complaining that they are ………………paid.

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

Download prefixes and suffixes worksheets pdf here.

You might also want to know when to use Past Perfect.

To know more about formation word, check this 

 

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