Morphology

Difference between prefix and suffix

English prefixes and suffixes are modifications to the first or last letters of a word and form a new word. They are morphemes that come together and can hold meaning or transform it. If it happens before the stem, it’s a prefix, but if it’s after the stem, then it’s a suffix.

In an increasingly competitive job market, there is no escape: people need to master English. This is a differential that opens many doors to better jobs and wages.

The good news is that the language is not among the most difficult in the world and a few tips can make it a lot easier! Understanding prefixes and suffixes in English, for example, is a way to increase your vocabulary and expand your knowledge significantly.

what are prefixes and suffixes in English?

For those who don’t know, suffixes and prefixes in English work very similarly to Portuguese. This means that the first or last letters of a word are added together and form a new word. Grammatically speaking, they are morphemes that come together and can hold meaning or transform it. If it happens before the stem, it’s a prefix, but if it’s after the stem, then it’s a suffix.

The word antipathy has a great example of a prefix, as anti was incorporated into the root  patia bringing a new meaning. Generally speaking, the meaning of the word is changed, but the grammatical class usually remains the same.

What are English prefixes?

Nothing better than finding some examples and thus understanding more clearly how everything works, right? See some of them we selected here:

1. ANTI

This prefix has the meaning of contra. See some examples:

She needs to update her antivirus.

She needs to update the antivirus.

There is good antibiotic your doctor may prescribe.

There is a good antibiotic your doctor can prescribe.

2. DIS

This option is used to give the sense of opposition.

I dislike her.

I do not like her.

Disable this option in my phone.

Disable this option on your phone.

3. IN, IM and IR

These three prefixes are very famous, but they all give the idea of ​​negation. Look:

It is impossible to jump from here! 

It’s impossible to jump from here!

This answer is incorrect.

Sorry, but your answer is incorrect.

Her situation is irregular! 

Her situation is irregular! 

4. RE

This prefix may seem small, but it carries with it the sense of doing it again.

Please redo this job.

Please redo your work.

I need to restore this to get a good grade.

I need to restudy this to get a better grade.

5. UN

To close the list with the most common prefixes, we could not fail to mention the UN. It is used a lot to mean no.

It is an unacceptable situation! 

This is an unacceptable situation!

My brother is unhappy in his marriage. 

My brother is unhappy in his marriage.

What are suffixes in English?

As we said before, suffixes are formed by letters or words that join a preexisting word. To understand even more clearly, here are some suffix examples:

6. EST

This is one of the most common suffixes and is often used as a superlative. He can demonstrate that something is the biggest, tallest, hottest and other such situations. See some examples:

He is the tallest student in the school.

He is the tallest student in the school.

São Paulo is the biggest city in Brazil.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil.

In this case, all you have to do is take an adjective and add the EST at the end — and that’s it! Tallest, biggest, shortest and so on.

7. ABLE

This suffix works like VEL in Portuguese, in words like adorable and acceptable, for example.

Madrid is an adorable city. 

Madrid is a lovely city.

It is an acceptable situation.

This is an acceptable situation.

8. LY

This one has a similar ending to MENTE in Portuguese.

I normally wake up at six o’clock every single day. 

I usually wake up at six o’clock every single day.

He usually goes to work by bus

He usually goes to work by bus.

9. TION

This is the real substitute for ÇÃO in Portuguese.

Communication is essential in all relationships. 

Communication is essential in all relationships.

I got the promotion yesterday!

I got a promotion yesterday!  

10. FUL

This suffix carries with it the meaning of being “full” of something.

He is a careful driver.

He is a careful driver.

11. LESS

Conversely, the word less means the “absence” of something.

He is careless driver. 

He is a careless driver.

My boss is a skilless manager. 

My boss is an unskilled manager.

12. TY

It has the meaning of DADE in Portuguese (and knowing this helps a lot not to make mistakes!).

I need to do a physical activity as soon as possible. 

I need to do physical activity as soon as possible.

Our reality is terrible and we need to fire two employees. 

Our reality is terrible and we need to lay off two employees.

Key Differences

  1. The prefix precedes the base word. It goes before the root.
  2. The suffix is ​​placed after the stem or base word.
  3. The prefix does not categorize the word, it does not add gender or quantity.
  4. The suffix in isolation does not give any meaning, for example ito, ita, ota, ado, edo.
  5. The prefix when it comes to an already formed word that will anticipate another root does have meaning even when it is isolated. Example: over – all
  6. The use of the suffix is ​​to categorize or add coherence to the text according to the derivation of the word in diminutive, augmentative, genders, and quantity.  Differences between prefix and suffix
  7. prefixes: they will always be unstressed syllables.
  8. suffixes: can modify the accentuation of the word and can be tonic.
  9. prefixes: they always go in front because they were originally prepositions.

We hope that you have understood the difference between prefix and suffix.

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