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What Are Affixes? (with Examples)

What Are Affixes? (with Examples)

An affix is added to the root of a word to change its meaning.

An affix added to the front of a word is known as a prefix. One added to the back is known as a suffix. Sometimes, prefixes are hyphenated.

Read more about hyphens in prefixes.

Examples of Affixes

Here are some examples of affixes:
  • incapable
  • (The affix is the prefix in.)
  • ex-President
  • (The affix is the prefix ex-.)
  • laughing
  • (The affix is the suffix ing.)
Most Common Prefixes. The four most common prefixes are dis-, in-, re-, and un-. These account for over 95% of prefixed words.

Most Common Suffixes. The four most common suffixes are -ed, -ing, -ly, and -es. These account for over 95% of suffixed words.

A List of Common Prefixes

Here is a list of common prefixes with some examples:

a-, an-withoutamoral, atypical
ante-beforeantecedent, antenatal
co-withco-conspirator, co-pilot
com-, con-withcompanion, contact
de-offdelist, devalue
en-put intoenclose, envelop
ex-out of, formerextract, ex-governor
extra-beyond, more thanextracurricular
homo-samehomonym, homophone
hyper-over, morehyperactive
il-, im-, in-, ir-not, withoutillegal, impractical, inconsiderate, irresponsible
inter-betweeninternet, intersection,
intra-insideintranet, intravenous
non-not, withoutnonentity, nonstarter,
omni-all, everyomnipresent, omniscient
pre-, pro-before, forwardprecede, project
sub-undersubmarine, substandard
syn-same timesynchronize
super-abovesupervisor, superhuman
tri-threetripod, triceratops
un-notundone, unfinished,
uni-oneunicorn, unilaterally

A List of Common Suffixes

Here is a list of common suffixes with some examples:

-able, -iblecan be done comfortable, passable
-al, -ialhaving the characteristics ofpersonal
-edpast-tense verbs (weak verbs)danced, jumped
-enmade ofgolden, wooden
-ercomparativetidier, nicer
-er, -or one who actor, narrator, worker
-estsuperlativenicest, greatest
-fulfull or full ofcupful, careful
-ichaving characteristics of linguistic, sarcastic
-ingverb form (present participle and gerund) dancing, singing
-ion, -tion, -ation, itionact or processattraction, attrition
-ity, -tystate ofhumility, infinity
-ive, -ative, itiveadjective form of a nounexpensive, plaintive
-lesswithout topless, fearless
-lyadverb ending nicely, quickly
-mentaction or process enjoyment, entrenchment
-nessstate of, condition of eagerness, kindness
-ous, -eous, -ious possessing the qualities oferroneous, joyous
-s, -espluraltables, foxes
-ycharacterized by fatty, happy, jumpy

Top Tip

Prefixes and Capital Letters

A prefix is not written with a capital letter unless it starts the sentence or is an integral part of a proper noun.
  • Ex-President Smith will meet ex-President Jones later.
  • Please show me the Baxter Inter-Department Programme.
  • Will you attend this year's anti-Nazi rally?
Read about hyphens with prefixes.
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