What are morphemes and its types?

Types of MorphemesMorphemes

A  morpheme  is the smallest part of a word that is capable of expressing meaning on its own. It can go before or after the root of a word (the lexeme), thus serving as a suffix or prefix. In both cases, it modifies the meaning of the word to which it is attached. What is morpheme and its types?

Morphemes can be variables for the same word. For example, the lexeme (the root) “niñ” can be accompanied by the morpheme “o” for masculine (boy) or the morpheme “a” for feminine (girl). In this way with a single letter, a morpheme changes the meaning of the gender in a word.

This quality of change that morphemes possess differentiates them from lexemes since the latter are fixed, invariable. There are also independent morphemes that do not need to be linked to a word, but rather announce it. The types of morphemes that exist will be explained below.

Morphemes are classified into two types: independent and dependent.

Independent morphemes

They are so called because they have a certain degree of autonomy with respect to words. In fact, they can work on their own without being glued to a root. Due to this quality, they are also considered “clitid”, that is, they have independence from a root. A common case is the morpheme “se” (he was left home).

Independent morphemes allow the inclusion of other morphemes between them and the next word. For example: ” He is gone.”

Independent morphemes are classified into determiners, prepositions, and conjunctions.

1-Determinants What is morpheme and its types?

These types of independent morphemes coincide in gender and number with the word they precede. They are responsible for presenting the word. Among these morphemes we have: esa, una, un, ella, el.

The determining morphemes are divided into predeterminers, updaters and quantifiers:


It is the one that can be placed in front of any determinant. For us in Spanish, this quality is possessed by the morpheme “todo”. Example: ” Everyone “.


These specify where the preceding word is found. For example: ” This elephant”, ” My house“. The updating determinant morphemes are classified in turn into: What is morpheme and its types?

  • Articles indicate whether what is being talked about is known or not. They can be the, the, the, the (” The dog”), one, one, one, one (” Some houses”).
  • Demonstrative : these indicate if what is being talked about is distant or close to the subject. Therefore, they accurately locate in space. We have them to show closeness (this, this, and their plurals), middle distance (that, that, and their plurals) and distance (that, that, and their plurals).
  • Possessives : they are used to indicate that what is being talked about belongs to something or someone (my, you, their). For example: “That’s my house.” It can also indicate belonging to two or more people (ours, yours). For example: “That is our house.”


These determining morphemes measure what is being talked about. (1, 2 … many, few …). They are divided into: What is morpheme and its types?

  • Numerals : they are in charge of giving an order or numbering to what is being talked about. They are characterized by being precise. There are four types of numeral morphemes: cardinal (1, 2, 3, 4, 5…), ordinal (first, second, third…), multipliers (double, triple…) and divisors (middle…).
  • Intensive : these quantifying morphemes are characterized by being imprecise. They do not show an exact amount (a lot, a little, a lot …). For example: many cats, little gasoline, enough need.
  • Interrogative and exclamatory:  these morphemes are easily recognized because they ask or express admiration for what is being talked about (what, which, how many). For example: What horse! How expensive! Which house? Which apples?

2-Prepositions What is morpheme and its types?

In this type of independent morphemes, their objective is to indicate the place, an origin, a direction or destination in particular of what is being talked about (a, ante, cabo, con, contra, en desde, en, entre, towards, until for, according, on, after …). For example:

  • He went to his people and said everything he knew.
  • She knew they would find her in her room, and she went under the almond tree.
  • He came from Punta de Piedras to here.


This type of independent morphemes has the primary use of joining ideas or words. Among these we can find:

  • Copulative conjunctions : they allow to join by sum two sentences or words (and, and…). For example: Mary and Jesus.
  • Disjunctive conjunctions: they  are used to indicate opposition between two ideas (o, u…). For example: him or me?
  • Adverse conjunctions : just like the disjunctives, they indicate opposition (however, nevertheless, but …). For example: I like her, but she must grow up.
  • Explanatory conjunctions: they allow to give clarity to a raised idea (that is, this is …). For example: I did not go well, but I did not fail either; that is …
  • Conjunctions of place : they indicate where something happens or will happen (where, where …). For example: That was where Jesus.
  • Conditional : they indicate that what is counted is being conditioned (if, if not, provided). For example:  If I want, I go. What is morpheme and its types?

Dependent morphemes What is morpheme and its types?

This type of morphemes necessarily needs a root to exist. They are linked to a word and – in most cases, except in the case of interfixes – change its meaning or expand it.

There are two types of dependent morphemes: derivative morphemes and inflectional morphemes.

1-Derivative morphemes

They are those that when joined to a root or lexeme give rise to derived words. There are three types of derivative morphemes: prefixes, suffixes, and interfixes.

1-Prefixes What is morpheme and its types?

They are those morphemes that to exert a change in a word are located at the beginning of the root of the same. Examples:

  • Pre maturo.
  • Super market.
  • Sub Earthen.
  • Intro poured.


They are those morphemes that to exercise a variation in a word are located at the end of the root of these. Examples:

  • Child .
  • Carr os.
  • Lent itude.
  • Panad eria.


These types of morphemes are used to prevent the formation of a hiatus in a word. This is called the “anthiotic interfix.” They are also used to differentiate words that are written in a similar way. This is called the “differential interfix.” What is morpheme and its types?

It is important to note that these morphemes are the exception to the rule, as they have no meaning. They are circumstantial and are used to give fluidity and avoid confusion between words. Examples:

  • Antihiatic interfix: baby c ito. In this case, the differential morpheme “c” avoids the hiatus that could occur if “bebeito” were written. The same happens with “suave c ito” (suaveito).
  • Differential interfix: pan ad ero. Here, the differential morpheme “ad” prevents “baker” from being confused with “panero”.

2-inflectional morphemes What is morpheme and its types?

These types of morphemes are responsible for adding both gender and number to words.

1-Examples of inflectional gender morphemes:

  • Gat o, gat a.
  • Chief, Jef to .
  • Duen or , Duen to .
  • Maread o , maread a .

2-Examples of inflectional morphemes of number:

  • House – house s.
  • Expense – expense s .
  • Car – car s .
  • Tree – tree is .

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